Dept. of Education finds more teacher misconduct

March 16, 2012 2:24:00 PM PDT
The sex abuse scandal at New York City schools is growing dramatically, with eight more public school employees facing charges.

Now, the entire system facing dramatic reform plans from the chancellor's office, which is trying to take sexual predators out of the classroom.

Schools Chancellor Dennis Walcott is promising big changes and has taken action to fire eight staffers who allegedly had inappropriate contact with or said suggestive things to students.

Walcott is also creating a new unit to track employees who may pose a danger to students and flag any who have been disciplined.

"I am not going to tolerate any individual having any improper contact with any of our students," Walcott said.

Walcott said he personally examined close to 250 cases and found eight employees who were not adequately disciplined for their prior misconduct with students. He wants out of the system.

Four teachers aides have been fired and four tenured teachers have been reassigned while the DOE pursues their termination. They are Christopher Azzoparti, Reynold Batson, Delroy Giscombe and Johnathan Polayes.

Polayes is a Bronx high school science teacher who has been investigated three times for inappropriate contact with female students, who claimed he touched them in private areas while trying to hug and tickle them.

Polayes worked at the Baruch School for a short period of time. Students who spoke with investigators say he was acting weird and told them to Google his name, where they found out that he had been investigated for touching students at other schools.

School officials blame the disciplinary delays on union contracts that make it hard to dismiss tenured teachers, but the head of the teachers union says Walcott has only himself to blame.

"He wouldn't be in this position today if the Department of Education was doing its investigations and charging people properly," he said. "That's why he's in damage control."

Here is the full text of Walcott's statement:
"Several weeks ago, I pledged to take a second look at employees disciplined for inappropriate conduct involving students. Since that time, we have removed eight individuals whose past behavior is totally unacceptable for an employee of New York City public schools, and I promise to make sure they never work here again. While these actions are a good first step, I believe we need common-sense reform so that we - not an independent arbitrator - have the authority to fire tenured staff who engage in this type of behavior."

The Department of Education identified the following employees who have been disciplined or fired:

  • Christopher Axxoparti, I.S. 285
  • Reynold Batson; P.S. 345
  • Jonathan Polayes; Baruch College Campus High School
  • Delroy Giscombe; A. Philip Randolph High School
  • Andre Harris; Humanities & Arts Magnet HS
  • Mark Sears; Port Richmond High School
  • Simon Wilkins J.H.S. 13 Jackie Robinson
  • Frederick Wright; P.S. 96

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