NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – A Manhattan high school teacher is under investigation after a shocking photograph allegedly shows her kissing a student.
The picture, which was published in the New York Post, shows a happy couple cuddling on a park bench.
1010 WINS’ Holli Haerr Reports
The problem is that the woman is believed to be 26-year-old Julie Warning, a global studies teacher at Manhattan Theater Lab High School, and the person she’s kissing is allegedly her 18-year-old student Eric Arty.
Some classmates said they’ve heard rumors floating around the hallways, but all are stunned to see the picture, which was apparently taken by a fellow student who spotted the two in Greenwich Village, according to the Post.
“I think it’s disturbing, something that a teacher shouldn’t do,” junior Stephanie Batista said.
“That’s ridiculous,” senior Brittany Johnson said. “It’s not professional. It shouldn’t be going on.”
Because both Warning and Arty have reached the age of consent, there’s nothing illegal about the apparent love affair, but Warning faces possible discipline for breaking Department of Education rules regarding teacher-student relationships, CBS 2′s Tony Aiello reported.
The DOE said it has referred the case to the Special Commissioner of Investigations and in the meantime, Warning has been reassigned to administrative duty. Both Warning and the student have publicly denied that she is the person in the picture.
Chancellor Dennis Walcott is pushing for more authority to fire teachers who engage in inappropriate behavior with students.
“They shouldn’t touch, they shouldn’t have over-friendly texts, they shouldn’t have any type of indication of having that type of personal relationship. I won’t tolerate that,” Walcott said.
Warning started working for the Department of Education in 2010 and quickly became popular with students — many of whom are now defending her.
“We don’t believe she would do that,” sophomore Monte Barronette said. “We all love her. She’s our favorite teacher, so we don’t believe it’s true.”
According to The Post, Warning’s Facebook page featured pictures of her in various bars. CBS 2 has learned that in February of last year, just months after becoming a teacher, Warning was arrested for DWI when her blood alcohol content was almost twice the legal limit.
Warning lives at a home in Putnam County, where two young neighbors reacted to the scandal.
“That’s kind of shocking to see that she would do something like that, especially with one of her students,” Sam Funicello said.
“That’s ridiculous, though, with a student? That’s something that you just don’t do,” Michael Maffettone said.
This is just the latest in a string of nearly a dozen city school teachers who now stand accused of sexual misconduct with students.
The latest black mark for the DOE comes as Chancellor Walcott and Mayor Michael Bloomberg push for more control over how these types of cases are handled.
“What we’ve been proposing with new legislation is that final decision shouldn’t rest with an arbitrator,” Walcott said. “Really the chancellor in these types of cases should be the one to make that final determination but just because a student is 18 or 19 doesn’t make a difference at all.”
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