Disciplinary Actions

Despite many attempts to undercut it, section 3020-a of the State Education Law provides for due process before a tenured teacher or pedagogue can be disciplined or terminated, including for charges such as incompetence, corporal punishment, insubordination or sexual or financial misconduct.

If the DOE serves you with disciplinary charges under section 3020-a, you should immediately go to your UFT borough office. You will be assisted in filing the necessary forms and arrange, if you choose, for you to be assigned legal counsel from NYSUT. A hearing officer (neutral arbitrator) jointly agreed upon by the UFT and the DOE will conduct a hearing, and if you are found guilty of any of the charges, discipline may be imposed. The discipline can range from a written reprimand to a monetary fine, suspension without pay to the loss of your job. If you are terminated, you will lose your New York City teaching license(s). However, your permanent state certification cannot be revoked without another hearing.

In some cases, teachers who are awaiting disciplinary charges are removed from their schools. Teachers can be reassigned to a DOE administrative office, given an administrative assignment within their school or in rare cases (i.e. sexual or financial misconduct) suspended with pay until the investigation is completed or the 3020-a hearing is finished. Unless there are unusual circumstances, allegations being investigated by principals will not result in a teacher being removed from their school. For those allegations not being investigated by principals, the Office of Special Investigations (OSI) will conduct the investigation. OSI must make every effort to complete investigations within 60 days. If a teacher is being investigated by the Office of the Special Commissioner of Investigations (SCI), the DOE is required to notify the teacher.

Further, teachers must be formally charged under section 3020-a within 60 days from being reassigned for misconduct if the investigation is being conducted by OSI. If you are being investigated by SCI for either financial or sexual misconduct, you must be formally charged within 15 days of the report being issued.  If teachers are returned to their school, the DOE may still bring disciplinary charges. If teachers have not been charged within the requisite time frame and have not been returned to their school, they should speak to their chapter leader and district representative who can help them file a grievance.

You are paid while you are reassigned except if you were found guilty or pled guilty to any felony. The DOE can request a special hearing before an impartial arbitrator to determine whether there is sufficient evidence (probable cause) that you engaged in serious misconduct to warrant a suspension without pay for up to two or three months.

For more information, see Article 21C of the contract.

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