Do you think the system is broken when a clearly abusive and disturbed teacher cannot be fired because of tenure? Or do you agree with the state teachers union that still says she deserves another chance even after the State Supreme Court ruled that the penalty was shocking?
Yarn?s troubles started in 2005 as a physical education teacher at Jefferson High School, where she allegedly became smitten with her principal Mary Andrecolich-Diaz and began sending her cards, letters and emails with sexual undertones.
?I care about you deeply ? I don?t know if I love you because I haven?t held you in my arms. I can call it love ? but I won?t know until we are face to face again. Love you,? one note read, according to the Chronicle.
Andrecolich-Diaz reported the harassment to the district?s human resources department, and Yarn was told to stop all personal communications with her principal and to seek a medical evaluation.
But Yarn wouldn?t take ?no? for an answer.
Andrecolich-Diaz eventually secured a protection order against her stalker, but within days Yarn was arrested for violating the order. She was later sentenced to jail time.
The disturbed teacher was placed in a new position at Wilson Magnet Foundation Academy after her jail stint. She then turned her attention to her new supervisors, referring to one assistant principal?s ?tender grins? and describing her as ?smooth ? yup like ice cream without the cone,? the Democrat and Chronicle reports.
Between September 2006 and January 2008, Yarn was reprimanded dozens of times for absenteeism and failing to properly supervise her students. In February 2008, a student accused Yarn of forcing female students to remove their clothes, including their bras, for a scoliosis exam. Court records show that Yarn threatened to flunk students who wouldn?t comply.
A month later, another female student came forward with allegations that Yarn attempted to unbutton her blazer and became so aggressive the girl was forced to flee the classroom. That?s when school officials finally removed Yarn from the classroom and initiated the termination process, although she remains on the payroll.
It wasn?t until February 2009 that district officials filed disciplinary charges, and it took another two years for an arbitrator to reach a decision in the case. Arbitrator Adam Kaufman, a former school attorney, acknowledged that most of the accusations against Yarn were true, but determined a one-year suspension with paid health insurance was a sufficient punishment, the Democrat and Chronicle reports.
Unsatisfied with the ruling, the district took its case to the state Supreme Court, which ordered another arbitrator to review the case.
?The repetition of her conduct is so outside the realm of reason and normal social relations that the penalty imposed by the hearing officer should shock the conscience of any reasonable person,? Justice Thomas VanStrydonck wrote in the ruling. ?It shocks the conscience of this Court.?
New York State Union of Teachers spokesman Carl Korn told the newspaper that Yarn should be able to continue teaching.
?We believe that while accountability for one?s actions is important, and that all teachers have a responsibility to the public and the students, there ought to be room for compassion,? he said. ?The hearing officer showed compassion and said if this teacher could rehabilitate herself she could be returned to the classroom.?