Tenure and Termination
Tenure is a position aspired to by all beginning teachers. Tenure is a form of job security that teachers can earn after they reach a certain level of professionalism (Scott, 1986). Once a teacher has earned tenure they are able to maintain an ongoing employment contract within an educational system, as long as they abide by the rules and regulations outlined in their contract.
Many states have created tenure policies to protect competent teachers from malicious accusations, and these policies can vary state to state. In this report there will be an exploration on the tenure and termination policy as it applies to the state of New York, an examination on an allegation against a school teacher based on facts and details provided, a review of the investigative process as it pertains to state law, and an outline on the various steps taken by an administrator in addressing this situation.
Overview of Statutes and Case Law in New York
Tenure is a policy that has been designed to protect teachers from false accusations and various injustices that may take place throughout ones career. For example, one of the rights afforded a tenured teacher is they cannot be discriminated against based on their personal views or belief systems outside of the educational arena. Also, they cannot be terminated without full due process. Tenure will not, however, protect educators who are incapable, ineffective, or are in violation of school board rules (Essex, 2012).
Based on the tenure in New York, Code-Section 3012, it stipulates that teachers will have a probationary period of three years, with the exception of a teacher who has demonstrated satisfactory service as a regular substitute for a period of two years (FindLaw, 2014). Tenured teachers are viewed as having a greater right to due process than non-tenured teachers. The purpose of “tenure” is to keep teachers from being discharged for “arbitrary and capricious reasons” (Essex, 2012). Teachers of tenure should not be removed from teaching except for (1) “insubordination or immoral character,” 2) “inefficiency, incompetency, physical or mental disability or neglect of duty,” and (3) “failure to maintain certification” (FindLaw, 2014).
According to the court case Stoddard v. School District, a teacher was denied renewal of her teaching contract because of teaching deficiencies (Leagle, 1974). The teacher contested that the board failed to show how she violated the first or fourteenth amendment, which was her freedom of speech and the right to have equal protection under the law. The teacher won the case as the board did not have a constitutional reason to have a non-renewal of her contract (Leagle, 1974). In another case, Toney v. Fairbanks North Star Borough School District (1994), the Alaska Supreme Court upheld a teacher’s termination because she failed to disclose a sexual relationship with a former student (Find Law for Legal Professionals, 2014). The school felt they were...