Webster Szanyi obtains termination award against tenured teacher in Section 3020-a proceeding

Ryan Smith, a partner at the firm, represented a school district at a hearing pursuant to New York Education Law § 3020-a, and successfully proved that the disciplinary charges warranted termination of a long-term tenured teacher.   The charges were based on a number of instances where the teacher interacted with students and staff in a negative manner.  The alleged misconduct included, for example, directing a student to sit at a desk facing the blackboard during class; denying a student permission to use the bathroom because the student asked the teacher aide, and not the teacher, for permission; and ignoring a consultant teacher’s questions in front of a class.  The teacher had no formal disciplinary history when the charges were filed.  However, the teacher had received counseling memoranda over the years that related to the conduct at issue.

The district relied upon the written counseling to demonstrate notice and, in some circumstances, to demonstrate directives with which the teacher failed to comply, in support of insubordination charges.  The district presented testimony from several students involved in the underlying incidents, as well as testimony from staff and administrators, in support of the charges.  Ultimately, the hearing officer agreed that the teacher could not be remediated and awarded termination.