In August, an undercover operative for James O’Keefe — the conservative “filmmaker” of ACORN
and Shirley Sherrod fame — started chatting up an unwary schoolteacher in a New Jersey bar.
Alissa Ploshnick, the single, 38-year-old special ed teacher, was flattered by the attention from her new 26-year-old “friend.” Over the next two and a half or three hours, they had some drinks, some laughs and apparently some flirtation. At one point, in a conversation about teacher tenure, Ploshnick told the attentive young man how hard it was to fire a tenured teacher. To prove her point, she told her admirer a story about a fellow teacher who had actually called a student the N-word, but the teacher had merely been demoted, not fired.
As happens with many a bar story, the story itself was apparently false. But in telling it, Ploshnick used the N-word herself.
Ploshnick had no idea that she was being audiotaped. A couple of months later, O’Keefe ambushed her outside her apartment with a video camera, demanding to know whether she’d ever used the N-word. The secretly made audiotape became a central part of an O’Keefe video called “Teachers Unions Gone Wild,” filmed in the same bar during a statewide teachers convention.
(In the O’Keefe video below, the Ploshnick segment begins at 0.25 minutes. The video opens with a secretly taped phone conversation between an assistant school superintendent and an actor who falsely complains that his child had been called the N-word.)
New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, engaged in a political war against the teachers union over pay and other issues, has cited O’Keefe’s videos as evidence that the teachers union is out of control. Ploshnick was suspended by the Passaic district for nine days and denied a pay raise worth a few thousand dollars.
Oh, and by the way, this wasn’t the first time Ploshnick has made the news. In 1997, as columnist Bob Braun of New Jersey’s Star-Ledger notes:
Alissa Ploshnick risked her life to save the lives of a dozen Passaic schoolchildren. She threw herself in front of a careening van to protect her students and landed in the hospital with broken ribs, a fractured wrist, a badly bruised pelvis and glass cuts in her eyes. She could have died.
The president of the United States, Bill Clinton then, sent her a letter. It read:
“I recently heard about your act of heroism and wanted to commend you for your selflessness. True heroes are rare in today’s world. And, all too often, those who are really making a difference in our communities go unnoticed and unrewarded. I am delighted to be able to give you the recognition you deserve. You are an example for all of us, and I applaud you for your sense of duty.’’
|Teacher who was suspended for remarks in ‘Teachers Unions Gone Wild’ video speaks out|