Teacher’s prior unblemished record of service did not mitigate imposing termination as the penalty after being found guilty of professional misconduct and other charges
2014 NY Slip Op 03210, Appellate Division, First Department
A tenured schoolteacher [Teacher] was found guilty of a number of disciplinary charges alleging professional misconduct, neglect of duty, failure to follow procedures and carry out duties, and incompetent and inefficient service during two school years over a two-year period.
Teacher challenged the Department of Education’s decision to terminate her. Supreme Court vacated the termination and remanded the matter to the Department for its determination of a lesser penalty.
The Appellate Division reversed the lower court’s ruling, noting that the Hearing Officer upheld many of the charges and specifications lodged against Teacher, which findings were not challenged on appeal.
Furthermore, said the court, the evidence showed that notwithstanding Teacher's prior unblemished record of service, she continued to blame others and refused to accept responsibility for her failure to effectively manage her classroom and deliver effective instruction and was unwilling to implement any of the school administration's suggestions for improvement.
The Appellate Division held that under the circumstances the penalty of termination “does not shock one's sense of fairness,” applying the so-called Pell standard [Pell v Board of Education, 34 NY2d 222].
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