Teacher Order Reinstated with Back Pay

The District sought to dismiss a special education teacher for poor performance and neglect of duty.  Although she had always received excellent evaluations, the District placed her on a plan of assistance in December, based largely on concerns regarding her effectiveness managing two severely behaviorally challenged students during that school year.  Before the plan started, the District also transferred her and her program to a new building where she took over as the teacher for a behavioral classroom.  After less than three months in the new position, the District terminated the teacher for poor performance, neglect of duty and inefficiency.  A three person panel of the Fair Dismissal Appeals Board found that the District did not have grounds to dismiss the teacher.  Regarding the performance issues, the Panel found that the plan was neither well-conceived nor well-implemented.   The statement of deficiencies and expectations was too general to be useful.  The duration of the plan  was also too short, particularly given the lack of specific and timely feedback.  Finally, the Panel rejected the District’s claim that students’ behavioral issues could be blamed on the teacher.  With regard to neglect of duty, the Panel found the teacher credible and that any  proven misconduct would not support dismissal.  As a remedy, the Panel ordered the District to reinstate the teacher with full back pay.