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September 7, 2016

Educator terminated for doing exactly what he was permitted and encouraged to do by his employer

Educator terminated for doing exactly what he was permitted and encouraged to do by his employer
2016 NY Slip Op 51252(U), Supreme Court, New York County, Schlesinger, J.

Petitioner, a former tenured New York City high school teacher, commenced an Article 78 proceeding to challenge his termination by the New York City Department of Education of the City of New York following a multi-day hearing for an alleged “inappropriate" relationship with a certain student.

In the words of Supreme Court Justice Alice Schlesinger:

“This is an unfortunate and unique case, in that petitioner was ultimately terminated for doing exactly what he was permitted and encouraged to do by his employer, and for doing exactly what made him such a fine teacher. For the reasons set forth below, the respondents' cross- motion to dismiss is denied, and the [educator’s] petition is granted.

“The penalty of termination, which certainly shocks this court's conscience,* must be vacated. Furthermore, petitioner, upon his reinstatement, hopefully will feel free to continue teaching in the open, caring and dedicated style he succeeded in and was trained in by his employer, and for which he was rightfully commended and promoted. The record shows that petitioner has always been an excellent teacher and mentor. He should be allowed to continue.”

* See Pell v Board of Education, 34 NY2d 222

Attorney for Petitioner: Julia R. Cohen, Esq.; Shebitz Berman Cohen and Delforte PC
Attorney for Employer: Gabriel Gladstone, Esq.; Off. of the New York City Corporation Counsel

The decision is posted on the Internet at:

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