Teaching Profession

D.C. Union Leader Sentenced To Nine-Year Prison Term

By Julie Blair — February 11, 2004 2 min read
  • Save to favorites
  • Print

As Barbara A. Bullock prepares to serve nine years in federal prison for her crimes against the Washington Teachers Union, members say they are forging ahead with the rebuilding of the 5,000-member organization.

The former president of the District of Columbia teachers’ group, who admitted to embezzling $4.6 million from union coffers from 1995 to 2002 and was sentenced late last month, is required to pay the money back, said Channing Phillips, a spokesman for U.S. Attorney Roscoe C. Howard Jr. After she completes her term, the 65-year-old must spend three years under supervised release and complete 3,000 hours of community service, Mr. Phillips added.

Barbara A. Bullock

Ms. Bullock pleaded guilty to charges of conspiracy and mail fraud in October. (“D.C. Union Leader Admits to Bilking Funds,” Oct. 15, 2003.)

Her lawyer did not return a call for comment last week.

Ms. Bullock told the judge at her Jan. 30 sentencing hearing that she was “deeply remorseful,” according to The Washington Post. She added that she was afflicted with bipolar disorder, and in part blamed that condition for perpetuating her high- class shopping habit. She spent much of the money she stole from the WTU on designer clothing and furs.

Educators in the nation’s capital said they had little sympathy for what they saw as an excuse and a pattern of betrayal. “Consequences are consequences,” said William F. Rope, who teaches 3rd grade at H.D. Cooke Elementary School. “She’s the past now.”

Some See Inequity

But other teachers in the city suggested that Ms. Bullock was not treated fairly in comparison with other white-collar criminals.

For example, the longtime leader of United Teachers of Dade in Miami, Pat L. Tornillo Jr., was sentenced to 27 months in federal prison after pleading guilty last year to defrauding a union and making false statements on his tax returns. He is also required to repay the $650,000 he stole from the union and pay a fine.

“The inequity bothers me,” said Elizabeth A. Davis, who teaches technology at John Philip Sousa Middle School in Washington. “I really hesitate to say it is a fair sentence.”

Many educators in the city, though, say they are eager to move on with union work and to regain control of their local union, which was taken over by the American Federation of Teachers soon after the scandal broke in 2002. (“Union Local Loses Control of Operations,” Jan. 29, 2003.)

Under federal law, the AFT must return the WTU to local officials’ control within 18 months of that action—this July.

“I think more than anything, [the sentencing] brought one phase to closure,” said George Parker, a math teacher at Eliot Junior High School. “There are so many things to move forward with.”

Related Tags:

Events

This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
Law & Courts Webinar
Future of the First Amendment: Exploring Trends in High School Students’ Views of Free Speech
Learn how educators are navigating student free speech issues and addressing controversial topics like gender and race in the classroom.
Content provided by The John S. and James L. Knight Foundation
This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
Student Well-Being Webinar
Start Strong With Solid SEL Implementation: Success Strategies for the New School Year
Join Satchel Pulse to learn why implementing a solid SEL program at the beginning of the year will deliver maximum impact to your students.
Content provided by Satchel Pulse
This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
Science Webinar
Real-World Problem Solving: How Invention Education Drives Student Learning
Hear from student inventors and K-12 teachers about how invention education enhances learning, opens minds, and preps students for the future.
Content provided by The Lemelson Foundation

EdWeek Top School Jobs

Teacher Jobs
Search over ten thousand teaching jobs nationwide — elementary, middle, high school and more.
View Jobs
Principal Jobs
Find hundreds of jobs for principals, assistant principals, and other school leadership roles.
View Jobs
Administrator Jobs
Over a thousand district-level jobs: superintendents, directors, more.
View Jobs
Support Staff Jobs
Search thousands of jobs, from paraprofessionals to counselors and more.
View Jobs

Read Next

Teaching Profession How Teachers Are Spending Their Summer Vacation
Swimming, hiking, and an occasional academic project are on the agenda.
1 min read
Lifeguards watch over children and their families as they enjoy the shallow end of the Woodson Family Aquatic Center on the opening day of the 2022 pool season Saturday, May 28, 2022 in Odessa, Texas.
Lifeguards watch over children and their families at the Woodson Family Aquatic Center as pool season opens in Odessa, Texas.
Eli Hartman/Odessa American via AP
Teaching Profession Letter to the Editor Can Educators Agree to Disagree Respectfully?
We must acknowledge that there are strong, defensible differences in perspectives about divisive topics, writes an educator.
1 min read
Illustration of an open laptop receiving an email.
iStock/Getty
Teaching Profession Q&A The First 5 Years in the Classroom Are Tough. This Teacher Has Ideas to Lessen the Burden
A middle school teacher talks about why educators need to share stories about their jobs—and find schools that reflect their values.
7 min read
Patrick Harris
Patrick Harris
Teaching Profession Teachers in Texas Shooting Died Trying to Shield Students, Their Families Say
Eva Mireles and Irma Garcia, both veteran teachers, co-taught a 4th grade class at their Uvalde, Texas, elementary school.
3 min read
Fourth grade co-teachers Irma Garcia, left, and Eva Mireles.
Fourth grade co-teachers Irma Garcia, left, and Eva Mireles, were killed in the school shooting in Uvalde, Texas, alongside 19 children.
Courtesy of Uvalde CISD