US teacher fakes stair fall to avoid classroom observation by supervisor

August 5th, 2010 - 6:16 pm ICT by ANI  

New York, Aug 5 (ANI): A high-school teacher in Brooklyn is said to have thrown herself down a school stairwell in a bid to avoid a classroom observation by her supervisor.

Staffers at the HS for Innovation in Advertising and Media revealed to investigators that Ilene Feldman, 33, was so petrified about the observation, which came in the wake of a poor performance review, that she staged the fall to get out of a second negative rating.

Administrators at the Canarsie school, who became suspicious of Feldman’s injury because it coincided with a classroom-observation meeting, handed security-camera footage to school investigators after concluding that she purposely fell down the stairs.

A report by the Office of the Special Commissioner of Investigation showed the teacher pausing on the fifth step of a narrow staircase and bending over to rummage through her handbag.

She then glanced toward the door as if listening for someone to approach.

“Feldman, who then appeared to hear someone coming, grabbed her handbag with her right hand, held the railing with her left hand, and slowly fell to the 2nd floor landing,” the New York Post quoted the report as saying.

Despite bracing her fall with her arm, Feldman lands on her back with her arms extended up and out, and she then reaches for her leg making “sounds as if she were in extreme pain” just as a concerned staffer entered the frame.

The footage “revealed that Feldman actually threw herself down the stairs in a controlled fall”, said the report, which was completed last year but never before made public.

Feldman later claimed in a separate filing that she fell because her foot got stuck on a stair — possibly on a piece of a gum.

“When going to ‘check it out’, to see what was on my shoe, I lost my balance and tripped/tumbled/fell down the rest of the stairs — about 3 or 4,” she wrote.

“I hit my right knee on the stair,” she stated.

Feldman was taken to a nearby hospital after the December 2008 topple, and she filed for four days of injury compensation for workdays missed.

When confronted by investigators, she twice declined to watch frame-by-frame footage of her fall, and kept insisting her tumble wasn’t a tall tale — but quickly resigned.

City Department of Education officials said Feldman, who was earning 50,000 dollars a year, has since been made ineligible for employment in the city schools system. (ANI)

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