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Judge: DOE Had No Right To Fire Brooklyn Teachers Over Tryst

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – Two Brooklyn teachers fired for having a romantic encounter in a classroom may be getting their jobs back.

Alini Brito and Cindy Mauro were popular teachers at James Madison High School, but in 2009, the foreign language instructors were caught one night in a partially nude embrace inside a dark classroom by a janitor.

The two had gone to dinner and then returned to the school for a musical performance by students.

When the janitor reported what he had seen, the Department of Education took swift action, reassigning both teachers to a so-called “rubber room” outside the classroom and later firing them.

The scandal caused a splash at the school and left students and parents stunned.

“If you’re going to do it, don’t do it in a school,” one parent said.

Now five years later, a judge says the DOE had no right to fire the teachers, finding the penalty of termination was “shockingly disproportionate to their conduct.”

According to the court ruling handed down by an appeals judge Thursday, while their behavior “demonstrated a lapse in judgement, there is no evidence that the incident was anything but a one-time mistake.”

The ruling going on to say, “unlike matters involving some sort of inappropriate conduct with a student, (their) engaging in consensual conduct with an adult colleague is not criminal or otherwise improper.”

That judge added that the teachers were not at the school in an official capacity and the incident should not affect their ability to teach.

It’s unclear whether Brito and Mauro plan to ask for their jobs back.

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