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New York

Walcott: Review of misconduct cases reveals discipline issues

The Department of Education is moving to fire eight employees who continued to work in schools even after being found guilty of sexual misconduct. The eight people were identified during a thorough review launched last month after multiple school workers were arrested and charged with inappropriately behavior toward students. Chancellor Dennis Walcott said today that he was disturbed "as a chancellor and a parent and grandparent" by some of the "horrendous acts" that the review had turned up. He said the review had highlighted inadequacies in the teacher discipline process, a process over which the city would like more authority. The review examined all school workers found to have behaved inappropriately since 2000 and referred by investigators for discipline. Walcott told reporters today that he personally examined about 250 cases and concluded that in some of them, appropriate action had been taken. In others, he said, the workers had left the system. And in even others, the investigations had concluded more than three years ago, meaning that it is too late for the department to issue a new punishment, even if one was merited. Walcott said the department had alerted principals who supervise workers the department would prefer to discipline but legally cannot. Those people will be monitored closely in the future, he said. "I am not going to tolerate any individual having any improper contact with any of our students," Walcott said. After the winnowing process, the department identified eight people – including four tenured teachers — whose punishments Walcott determined had not been adequate.