According to New York Daily News, Two female teachers caught kissing in an empty classroom at James Madison High School should not have been suspended for more than a year, a Manhattan judge ruled.
Supreme Court Justice Alice Schlesinger said it was “irrational” of a Department of Education hearing officer to impose a two-year suspension on Cindy Mauro for the reasons he did.
Mauro’s colleague, Alini Brito, got just a one-year penalty.
The women had both been fired for the 2009 incident, but the Manhattan Appellate Division ruled that dismissal was too harsh.
It sent the cases back to DOE’s disciplinary system to impose a new penalty. That system brought the cases before two different hearing officers: one imposed a one-year suspension on Brito, but the second hearing officer suspended Mauro for two years, accusing her of having shown “no remorse” and being a bad “role model” for students.
Both teachers appealed those rulings.
Schlesinger upheld the one-year penalty on Brito, but said there was nothing in the record to support the role model complaint about Mauro.
She also said DOE’s disciplinary system, which has hearing officers conduct fact finding and imposing punishment simultaneously, makes it difficult for offenders to apologize when they’re focused on denying the charges against them.
Schlesinger noted that the Appellate Division decisions in both cases used almost identical language and so “it makes no sense for Mauro’s suspension to be double that of Brito’s.”
The teachers have both complained about not receiving back pay for the years they have been out of the classroom but Schlesinger declined to get into that issue without further evidence.
There was no immediate reaction from city officials.