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June 03, 2013

Teacher terminated after being found guilty of subjecting a student to corporeal punishment

Teacher terminated after being found guilty of subjecting a student to corporeal punishment
2013 NY Slip Op 03769, Appellate Division, First Department

A New York City schoolteacher filed a petition seeking to vacate a post-hearing award finding her guilty of administering corporal punishment on a kindergarten student and of directing students who witnessed the incident not to discuss what they had observed, and imposing the penalty of termination of her employment. The court granted her petition in part, vacating the penalty imposed and remanding the matter to a different hearing officer for a determination of the penalty based on the administrative record, “but taking no account of any evidence of uncharged wrongdoing.”

The Appellate Division modified that award and reinstated the penalty imposed – termination

The Appellate Division explained that Supreme Court had found that there was adequate evidence in the record made at the disciplinary hearing to support the hearing officer’s determination that the teacher was guilty of administering corporal punishment on the kindergarten student and directing the students who witnessed the incident not to discuss what they had observed.

The apparent basis for the Supreme Court’s remanding the matter to a different arbitrator was the teacher’s representation that she was denied due process because the Hearing Officer's decision to terminate her employment was based upon evidence of wrongdoing that was not charged.

The Appellate Division said that the allegation that the Hearing Officer's decision to terminate her employment was based upon evidence of wrongdoing that was not charged is unavailing, since the Hearing Officer “expressly based the penalty upon the charged misconduct.”

Finding that the record showed that the teacher “showed a lack of remorse for her actions,” the Appellate Division concluded that “the penalty of termination does not shock one's sense of fairness, in light of petitioner's egregious misconduct of kicking a kindergarten student with special needs and then directing her other impressionable students not to discuss what they had observed.”

The decision is posted on the Internet at:


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