Walcott calls out UFT's case against perv teach bill
As Albany weighs giving the city the power to fire alleged perv teachers, Schools Chancellor Dennis Walcott made the case why he needs to have the final say.
In a letter sent to United Federation of Teachers President Michael Mulgrew Sunday, Walcott contested his claim that the current process to investigate and punish teachers accused of sexually abusing students is fair. He highlighted four cases of teachers who had strong evidence of sexual misconduct but kept their job, including an arbitrator's determination that a teacher "crossed the line" when she sent inappropriate text messages to a student in 2008. The teacher only received a reprimand, according to Walcott.
"These disturbing cases undermine your assertion that students are sufficiently protected by both your supposed zero tolerance policy and the contract provisions," Walcott wrote.
In an email, Mulgrew dismissed Walcott’s charges.
“The UFT’s contract mandates the toughest penalty in the state — automatic termination — for any teacher found guilty of any sexual misconduct,” Mulgrew said. “In all of the cases cited by the chancellor an independent arbitrator heard all of the evidence, not just the accusation, and made a determination on that basis.”
Teacher sex abuse cases are currently brought before an independent arbitrator who decides whether that instructor keeps their job.
Walcott has been pushing the state to pass a bill that would give him overriding power over the arbitrator in cases against teachers involving sex abuse. The chancellor said his office has been overburdened with many cases that did not end in firings.
On Thursday, a Harlem teacher was arraigned on charges that he molested an 8-year-old student.