Carin Mehler's Re-assignment in Rye Costs the District a Pretty Penny.....So, Put Her Back To Work!
Rye Teacher Carin Mehler Sues For $1 Million After Being Placed On Administrative Leave Which Destroyed Her Reputation
Rye teacher suit dismissed by federal judge
A federal lawsuit brought by a Rye teacher alleging her constitutional rights were violated by the school district was dismissed last week.
Previous coverage : Rye teacher: 'I have no way of defending myself'
Carin Mehler, the fourth-grade teacher who has been on paid administrative reassignment since May 2013 for improper coaching of her students during state exams, alleged in her 2014 lawsuit she was deprived of "due process."
In a decision released last week, U.S. District Court Judge Cathy Seibel said while the district did not have sufficient evidence to prove wrongdoing by Mehler, it did not violate her constitutional rights.
"The Court understands Plaintiff's frustration at the situation, and understands why the Defendants are keeping Plaintiff out of the classroom when they admittedly cannot prove wrongdoing on her part," Seibel wrote. "But not every situation that seems, or even is, unfair or ill-advised amounts to a federal constitutional violation."
(Read the decision at end of this story)
Meanwhile, Mehler is being paid $150,000 to $200,000 in salary and benefits while the Rye school district decides whether to bring formal charges against her. The lack of a charge has prevented the tenured teacher from having a state-required administrative hearing that would determine her future.
Mehler's Manhattan-based attorney, Arthur Schwartz, called the decision "very disappointing."
"There is no question in anyone's mind that her two year reassignment is punishment," Schwartz said. "But it is punishment meted out without any sort of due process."
A district spokesperson could not immediately be reached for comment.
Mehler, who taught fourth-grade at Osborn, was put on administrative reassignment along with three other teachers almost two years ago amid allegations of improper coaching during 2013 state exams. She was one of four teachers to be reassigned for "testing irregularities."
For about a year, Mehler was assigned to a room by herself, stacking books by grade level, in what the Rye Teachers Union called "solitary confinement." This year, she's been told to stay home during school hours and make fourth-grade lesson plans.
Shannon Gold, a fourth-grade teacher at Milton School who had been reassigned,resigned in January 2014. Gail Topol, a third-grade teacher at Osborn, returned to the classroom in February 2014 after paying a $2,500 fine and converting 27 days of her administrative reassignment into a paid suspension.
Dana Coppola, a third-grade teacher at Milton Elementary School, who returned to the classroom in September, was fined $18,000 in a settlement involving formal charges of 10 counts of misconduct and neglect of duty.
Read: Carin Mehler court decision
Thursday, January 8, 2015