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City Sch. Dist. of the New York v. McGraham

Court of Appeals of New York.
Nov 17, 2011
2011 N.Y. Slip Op. 8228 (N.Y. 2011)

Opinion

2011-11-17

CITY SCHOOL DISTRICT OF the CITY OF NEW YORK, Appellant, v. Colleen McGRAHAM, Respondent.

Michael A. Cardozo, Corporation Counsel, New York City (Stephen J. McGrath, Cheryl Payer and Leonard Koerner of counsel), for appellant. Maria Elena Gonzalez, New York City, and Richard E. Casagrande for respondent.


Michael A. Cardozo, Corporation Counsel, New York City (Stephen J. McGrath, Cheryl Payer and Leonard Koerner of counsel), for appellant. Maria Elena Gonzalez, New York City, and Richard E. Casagrande for respondent.

OPINION OF THE COURT

MEMORANDUM.

The order of the Appellate Division should be affirmed, with costs.

Respondent, a 36–year–old tenured high school teacher, was the subject of disciplinary charges pursuant to Education Law § 3020–a as a result of her improper conduct with respect to a 15–year–old male student. Respondent corresponded with the student electronically outside of school hours—sometimes late at night—about a variety of personal matters and tried to discuss with him the nature of their relationship, which, in her view, was potentially romantic. There was, however, no physical contact, let alone a physical relationship, between the two and none of her communications were of a sexual nature. They never met outside of school grounds.

The hearing officer found respondent guilty of three of the five specifications preferred against her and determined that she engaged in inappropriate communications of an intimate nature with the student, constituting conduct unbecoming her position as a teacher. In determining the appropriate penalty, the hearing officer considered that respondent was remorseful for her conduct and that she sought therapy soon after her behavior came to light. The hearing officer did not believe that respondent would repeat such conduct and imposed a penalty of a 90–day suspension without pay and reassignment to a different school upon her reinstatement. Petitioner commenced this proceeding pursuant to CPLR 7511 to vacate the arbitration award, arguing that the penalty imposed was irrational and contrary to the public policy of protecting children.

Chief Judge LIPPMAN and Judges CIPARICK, GRAFFEO, READ, SMITH, PIGOTT and JONES Concur.

Order affirmed, with costs, in a memorandum.

FN* [1] Respondent's employment was terminated in July 2009 because she allowed her teacher's certification to lapse. However, since petitioner seeks her termination under section 3020–a in an effort to prevent her from being in a position to obtain future employment with the Department of Education, this appeal is not moot ( see e.g. Matter of Brooklyn Audit Co. v. Department of Taxation & Fin., 275 N.Y. 284, 286, 9 N.E.2d 930 [1937] ).


Summaries of

City Sch. Dist. of the New York v. McGraham

Court of Appeals of New York.
Nov 17, 2011
2011 N.Y. Slip Op. 8228 (N.Y. 2011)
Case details for

City Sch. Dist. of the New York v. McGraham

Case Details

Full title:CITY SCHOOL DISTRICT OF the CITY OF NEW YORK, Appellant, v. Colleen…

Court:Court of Appeals of New York.

Date published: Nov 17, 2011

Citations

2011 N.Y. Slip Op. 8228 (N.Y. 2011)
934 N.Y.S.2d 768
958 N.E.2d 897
2011 N.Y. Slip Op. 8228

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