NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — There was a new move announced Tuesday to give New York City and school districts throughout the state more power to get rid of so-called “perv” teachers. It’s aimed at protecting kids in the classroom.
More than a dozen city teachers brought up on sexual misconduct charges are still in the classroom and Mayor Michael Bloomberg says that urgently needs to change, CBS 2’s Marcia Kramer reported.
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“It is wrong. It is dangerous. It is indefensible,” Bloomberg said Tuesday.
Surrounded by City Schools Chancellor Dennis Walcott and school officials from around the state, Bloomberg announced new state Senate legislation to give final say on teacher fitness to school districts in New York. Right now a hearing officer has the last word, which Bloomberg said is unacceptable.
“In one case an investigator found that a teacher had inappropriately touched a number of female students. This was the teacher’s second hearing for such behavior, but the hearing officer only imposed suspension without pay and a strong warning,” Bloomberg said. “How can we as adults let that teacher go back into the classroom?”
“Every child should be protected from people who are predators,” added Sen. Stephen Saland, R-Poughkeepsie.
The mayor called on the teachers’ unions to join him in supporting the bill, but United Federation of Teachers President Michael Mulgrew said the bill is unnecessary because the union already has a zero tolerance policy.
“Giving the chancellor, who has previously said that an accusation is not the same thing as a finding of guilt, the power to ignore the evidence and an arbitrator’s decision is not an answer to it,” Mulgrew said.
“The teachers’ union is not there to protect our kids. The teachers’ union is there to protect the members of that union,” Bloomberg said in response.
The mayor has two problems with getting the bill passed. First, there is no Assembly sponsor yet and, second, there are only four weeks left in the legislative session.
Governor Andrew Cuomo has not signed on yet. His office said he is “reviewing” the bill.
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