New Jersey teacher will keep her job after slapping student
A Franklin Township special education teacher will keep her job after slapping an 8-year-old student in the face.
According to The Trentonian, an appeal panel decided that Edith Craft will be suspended for 240 days without pay and she will not receive her next raise. Craft was suspended in January 2011 until now without pay.
In 2010, Craft slapped a student in response to the handicapped student slapping her. The Board of Education wanted her tenure taken away and for her to be terminated, according to mycentraljersey.com.
The student referred to as “D.S.” was apparently refusing to listen on the day of the incident and when prompted to sit with his classmates, the trouble began. The student did not suffer and injuries due to the slap nor did he seem to be upset by it, according to court filings.
In the summer of 2011, Craft had a hearing before an Administrative Law Judge.
“The ALJ found this single isolated incident was insufficient to warrant Craft’s dismissal,” Thursday’s appellate ruling read. “(But) after reviewing prior administrative and Appellate Division decisions, the ALJ found that Craft ‘undoubtedly engaged in unbecoming conduct’ by ‘fail(ing) to demonstrate the necessary restraint when she was hit in the face by (D.S.).’”
“The (state education) commissioner concurred with the ALJ’s findings, but determined that the penalty must be increased to reflect the fact that the inexcusable use of physical force in the school environment will not be tolerated,” the appellate ruling read.
Craft has appealed the commissioner’s determination of the 240 day suspension.
“We’re disappointed,” Craft’s attorney, Arnold Mellk, said Thursday. “But she has the right to go back and continue with her teaching career.”
Mellk said he was pleased his client will be able to get on with her life and continue to engage in what he described as a passion for teaching. He declined to say whether she might have additional avenues of legal recourse in the matter, noting that she is continuing to review the appellate decision.
“She is really a sweet, gentle lady,” Mellk said. “And this was not premeditated, cruel or vicious.”