Thursday, January 10, 2019
A Brooklyn Supreme Court Judge Annuls The Unfair Termination Of A Teacher.
A Brooklyn high school teacher at the High School for Civil Rights with an unblemished disciplinary record, was terminated by a State arbitrator when he was charged with corporal punishment and conduct unbecoming a teacher by the DOE. The teacher named Shawn Browne tried to remove an unruly student from his Math class and the confrontation escalated to the point that the misbehaving student, who was playing cards instead of working in his Math class, was told to leave the classroom and refused to do so. The student then throw a stapler and a towel at the teacher and, in response, the teacher tried to push the student out of the room. According to the student and a school safety agent, the teacher allegedly punched the student twice in the face while trying to remove the student from the classroom. The teacher denied punching the student and was backed up by other students in the classroom. However, the arbitrator, Dean Burrell, chose to believe the student and school safety officer and ignored the other witnesses and the teacher and terminated the teacher.
The arbitrator did not take into account the 15 year unblemished disciplinary record of Mr. Browne or the circumstances that lead to the incident. Consequently, the arbitrator claimed that the teacher's conduct cannot be remediated.. Therefore, the arbitrators award of termination.
The teacher appealed his termination to Brooklyn Supreme Court Judge, Alexander Tisch, who ruled that the arbitrator's award "shocked the conscious" and sent it back to the arbitrator for a lesser penalty. According to Justice Tisch the arbitrator failed to take into account the teacher's unblemished disciplinary record, the circumstances that lead up to the altercation, and the lack of a co-teacher in a co-teaching class, a violation of State regulations when dealing with students with an IEP. Moreover, Mr. Tisch found that an anger management course for Mr. Browne is a proper remediation for the teacher for the one time incident, along with a penalty short of termination.
Naturally, the DOE will appeal the decision to a higher State court.