After a recent series of cases in which New York City teachers have been accused of sexual misconduct, Mayor Bloomberg is proposing a new state law providing high-ranking, local school officials the final word on whether school employees involved in sex cases should be fired.
Bloomberg said, "There is simply no reason that teachers accused of sexual misconduct should have greater job security than other city employees. The fact that they currently do is wrong; it is dangerous; it is indefensible.”
The mayor's efforts follow a recent report revealing a 35 percent increase in complaints accusing teachers of sexual misconduct in city schools.
(And just today, The New York Post published a a video showing a teacher smooching with a student in Greenwich Village Park.)
Current protocol mandates tenured teachers the right to a hearing process with independent arbitrators who ultimately decide whether or not the accused teacher should be fired. The teacher is also allowed to appeal the arbitrator's decision.
But as The New York Times reports, the mayor believes arbitrators are often sacrificing the safety of children in order to "please both sides."
In April, an investigative report conducted by the New York Education Department found 16 teachers accused of various forms of sexual misconduct to still be teaching in the city's school system.
The city's schools chancellor Dennis Walcott said, "If I had my way, these teachers would no longer be in the classroom" adding that "common-sense reforms" were needed in order to provide the chancellor with the power to fire the accused teachers.
The bill may have the support of the mayor, but legislators believe Bloomberg is underestimating the large hurdles blocking the current law from being changed.
Union president Mike Mulgrew said he supported a zero tolerance policy but opposed giving Chancellor Walcott the power to "unilaterally” fire a school employee without taking into account an arbitrator's own decision.