Matter of Santer v Board of Educ. of E. Meadow Union Free Sch. Dist.
|2012 NY Slip Op 08750|
|Decided on December 19, 2012|
|Appellate Division, Second Department|
|Published by New York State Law Reporting Bureau pursuant to Judiciary Law § 431.|
|This opinion is uncorrected and subject to revision before publication in the Official Reports.|
Decided on December 19, 2012
RUTH C. BALKIN, J.P.
CHERYL E. CHAMBERS
L. PRISCILLA HALL
SANDRA L. SGROI, JJ.
(Index No. 1997/10)
Board of Education of East Meadow Union Free School District, respondent.
Richard E. Casagrande, New York, N.Y. (Melinda G. Gordon of
counsel), for appellant.
Littler Mendelson, P.C., New York, N.Y. (Craig R. Benson,
George B. Pauta, and Ethan D. Balsam
of counsel), for respondent.
DECISION & ORDER
"intentionally created a health and safety risk by purposely situating his vehicle alongside the curb of Wenwood Drive in front of the Woodland Middle School in order to preclude children from being dropped off at curbside. The action resulted in children being dropped off in the middle of the street which resulted in an otherwise avoidable and unnecessary health and safety hazard."At the ensuing arbitration hearing, the petitioner argued, inter alia, that he had a constitutionally protected right to peacefully picket in a public area before the beginning of the school day. The arbitrator rejected this argument, found the petitioner to be culpable of the charge of creating a health and safety hazard, and directed that he pay a fine in the sum of $500. The petitioner commenced this proceeding challenging the arbitration award. The Supreme Court confirmed the finding of misconduct, and denied the petition. The petitioner appeals.
The Supreme Court of the United States has stated that "[t]he vigilant protection of constitutional freedoms is nowhere more vital than in the community of American schools" (Shelton v Tucker, 364 US 479, 487). The disciplinary measures imposed on Santer would likely have the effect of chilling speech on an important matter of public concern—the negotiation of a collective bargaining agreement.
BALKIN, J.P., CHAMBERS, HALL and SGROI, JJ., concur.