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Education Laws and Regulations

Summary of Arbitration Awards
Issued Pursuant to General Laws Chapter 71 And Related Judicial Decisions

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II. Description of Awards

C. Employee Suspensions Pursuant to Sections 42D and 42

General Laws c. 71, § 42D, ¶ 3 provides, in part:

A suspended teacher or other employee may seek review of the suspension by following the arbitration procedure set forth in section forty-two.

  1. East Longmeadow Public Schools — July 25, 1994

    Replaced five-day suspension of a teacher for alleged sexual harassment with a written letter of reprimand. [Five pages]
    AAA# 11-390-00742-94Arbitrator Leo J. Roiko

  2. Lawrence Public Schools & P. N.6 — November 22, 1994

    Reduced two-day suspension of a teacher for leaving the school building to a one-day suspension. [11 pages]
    AAA# 11-390-00796-94Arbitrator Theodore H. O'Brien

  3. Greater New Bedford Regional Voc. Tech. School — January 9, 1995

    Replaced two-day suspension of a teacher for allegedly spreading rumors about the superintendent-director with a formal letter of reprimand. [13 pages]
    AAA# 11-390-01271-94Arbitrator Daniel J. Pagnano

  4. Greater Lawrence Regional Voc. Tech. School & W. M. & D. C. — October 12, 1995

    Upheld five-day suspensions of two teachers for violating district policy by allowing students to go off-campus without approval. [22 pages]
    AAA# 11-390-00739-94Arbitrator Diane Zaar Cochran

  5. Salem Public Schools [Salem I]7 — November 17, 1995

    Upheld two-day suspension of a teacher for making inappropriate comments to a student. However, the arbitrator emphasized that employees must be notified of their right to counsel before an interrogation that could result in suspension. [Ten pages]
    AAA# 11-390-00993-95Arbitrator William J. McDonald

  6. Holliston Public Schools — December 31, 1995

    Reduced five-day suspension to a letter of reprimand. The teacher, who had taught in the district without incident for 30 years, had allegedly used inappropriate language and pushed a student. The arbitrator said that while the language used was not appropriate for a teacher, it was an isolated comment and made only in the student's presence. The arbitrator found that this did not rise to the level of verbal abuse. The arbitrator said the teacher touched but did not push the student and his action was not prompted by any hostility. The arbitrator found this did not constitute physical abuse. [Nine pages]
    AAA# 11-390-01096-95Arbitrator Beth Anne Wolfson

  7. Easthampton Public Schools — January 10, 1996

    Reduced 30-day suspension to five days. The teacher, who had taught in the district for 18 years, had physically disciplined a student. The arbitrator ruled that: (1) the reference to one month in section 42D refers to a calendar month and not to 30 school working days; (2) arbitrators should apply a just cause standard that includes the best interest of the students; and (3) since "it was common knowledge" that teachers should not use physical measures to control students, the district was not limited, by the doctrine of progressive discipline, to using a written warning. [27 pages]
    AAA# 11-390-00752-95Arbitrator Richard G. Boulanger

  8. Ashland Public Schools — January 15, 1996

    Athletic coach may arbitrate his suspension (for intimidating players) since he is an employee covered by section 42D. The arbitrator overturned the coach's suspension, ordered the suspension expunged from the coach's file, and ordered the district to offer the coach a one-year contract. The arbitrator said the "lack of written notice that [the coach] was a target of a disciplinary investigation, the lack of meaningful notice of the right to counsel during a disciplinary interrogation and the lack of timely written notice of the grounds for the suspension placed the coach at a serious disadvantage." [14 pages]
    AAA# 11-390-01277-95Arbitrator Timothy Buckalew

  9. Wilbraham Public Schools — March 18, 1996

    Reduced a five-day suspension to two days. The arbitrator applied a just cause standard and considered the best interests of the students. The district had just cause to suspend the teacher, who had taught in the district for 36 years, for failing to follow established procedures. The arbitrator said that the district did not have just cause to suspend the teacher for his alleged animosity toward another teacher. [22 pages]
    AAA# 11-390-01770-94Arbitrator Sherrie Rose Talmadge

  10. Dracut Public Schools — April 15, 1996

    Reduced a five-day suspension and other disciplinary measures to a warning letter. While there was sufficient evidence to discipline a teacher for inappropriate speech in the classroom, the arbitrator said the evidence did not support the suspension for sexual harassment. [22 pages]
    AAA# 11-390-01634-95Arbitrator Gary Cooper

  11. Lawrence Public Schools & M. R. — May 31, 1996

    Upheld eight-day suspension of an assistant principal for sexual harassment of an employee, despite the employee's refusal to file a formal charge, pursuant to the system's sexual harassment policy. [29 pages]
    AAA# 11-390-00738-95Arbitrator Diane Zaar Cochran

  12. Salem Public Schools [Salem II]8 — April 4, 1997

    Upheld a 30-day suspension for insubordination by a teacher of students with special needs, based upon her continued failure to treat students, parents and the staff with dignity and respect. The arbitrator said the best interests of the students were not served by the teacher's failure to complete her students' Individualized Education Plans [IEPs]. The teacher had previously received a two-day suspension (upheld in Salem I), but according to the arbitrator, she "repeatedly and willfully continued to conduct herself in a manner contrary to the explicit directions of her supervisors." [29 pages]
    AAA# 11-390-01878-96Arbitrator Nancy Peace

  13. Southeastern Regional School District & T. B. — June 2, 1997

    Overturned teacher's nine-day suspension. The district was ordered to provide back pay and benefits and to expunge the suspension from the teacher's personnel files. The teacher was suspended for "inappropriate behavior," after a student verbally insulted and physically attacked her. The arbitrator said the suspension did not comply with section 42D because the notice did not state that the teacher would be suspended on a particular day. The superintendent also allegedly interrogated the teacher without notification of her right to counsel and, until the arbitration proceeding, the arbitrator said, the district failed to notify the teacher exactly what part of her conduct was wrongful. The arbitrator determined that the teacher used no more force than was reasonably necessary for self-protection. He ruled that the suspension was arbitrary and capricious. [48 pages]
    AAA# 11-390-01079-96Arbitrator Robert J. Canavan, Jr.

  14. Greater Fall River Voc. School District Committee & E. S. — Sept. 13, 1997

    Technical drawing teacher had a right to seek arbitral review of his suspension even though he had not attained PTS or exhausted his contractual rights under the collective bargaining agreement. On the merits, the arbitrator upheld the five-day suspension because the teacher engaged in "unreciprocated familiar bantering and double entendres of a sexual nature" with female students. [25 pages]
    AAA# 11-390-02403-96Arbitrator Sarah Kerr Garraty

  15. Melrose Public Schools — January 6, 1998

    Overturned two-day suspension for engaging in conduct unbecoming a teacher and for insubordination. The arbitrator ordered the district to rescind the suspension, expunge it from the teacher's personnel files and make the teacher whole for any loss of pay and benefits. The incidents arose after the teacher, who had taught high school mathematics, was transferred to the middle school and a new mathematics teacher began teaching at the high school. The parties agreed that the arbitrator should apply the collective bargaining contract's just cause standard. The district did not have just cause to suspend the teacher who had no notice that his actions [e.g., contacting the new teacher's former employer and telling others that the new teacher was not qualified] were inappropriate. The arbitrator said the teacher had acted to protect his legitimate interests. [22 pages]
    AAA# 11-390-00026-97Arbitrator Robert J. Ambrogi

  16. Taunton Public Schools — [Taunton I] — March 10, 1998

    Upheld nine-day suspension of a first grade teacher for insubordination, conduct unbecoming a teacher, including yelling at her peers and showing disrespect towards her superior. The teacher had received a five-day suspension for similar misconduct during the previous academic year. The arbitrator also held that the district was not at fault for failing to provide the teacher with a written standard describing unbecoming conduct. [11 pages]
    AAA# 11-390-00120-97Arbitrator Marsha Mearns Saylor

  17. Everett Public Schools & E.C. — April 20, 1998

    Upheld the teacher's first 30-day suspension for conduct unbecoming a teacher, after he was arraigned on a charge of "indecent assault and battery upon a child under the age of fourteen." The alleged victim was the five-year old daughter of the teacher's neighbor. The arbitrator ruled that subsequent suspensions violated section 42D, which limits suspension to 30 days. The arbitrator ordered the district to reinstate the teacher until his criminal case was completed and to provide the teacher with his lost salary from the end of the first 30-day suspension. The teacher had argued that the first 30-day suspension was unlawful because the district did not have proof of his misconduct and because he was arraigned in district court rather than indicted in superior court. [G.L. c. 268A, § 25 permits a school district to suspend an employee "subsequent to an indictment."] [Nine pages]
    AAA# 11-390-01909-97Arbitrator John A. Canavan, Jr.

  18. Taunton Public Schools [Taunton II] — July 10, 1998

    Upheld ten-day suspension of a first grade teacher for insubordination, incapacity and conduct unbecoming a teacher. This was the teacher's third suspension in two years. See Taunton I. The teacher was insubordinate because she refused to implement a behavior management plan provided by her superiors. The teacher's classroom was frequently chaotic, supporting the district's allegation of incapacity. The teacher's conduct was unbecoming because she yelled at the principal and other staff and refused to follow the principal's directives. [23 pages]
    AAA# 11-390-00650-97Arbitrator William Croasdale

  19. Boston Public Schools & K. R. — July 29,1998

    Overturned the three-day suspension of a fifth grade teacher for inappropriate and abusive behavior toward parents, students and co-workers, and for insubordination. The arbitrator found the teacher more credible than the principal and the principal's investigation flawed because the principal only interviewed the complaining students or parents and misstated the facts. The arbitrator said the teacher was not insubordinate because the principal engaged him in a "verbal shouting match." [23 pages]
    AAA# 11-390-02318-97Arbitrator George F. McInerny

  20. Southbridge Public Schools & R.L. — November 4, 1998

    Upheld in part the suspension of the Director of Buildings and Grounds for neglecting his duties and showing poor management and leadership skills. The Director failed to deal with potential turf and safety issues posed when parents, players, and the Chairman of the School Committee voluntarily removed snow from the football field in order to prepare for an upcoming game. The Arbitrator reduced the suspension from ten days to five days without pay and upheld the requirement that the Director write letters of apology to the head coach and members of the varsity football team. [18 pages]
    AAA# 11-390-00683-98Arbitrator Sherrie Rose Talmadge

  21. Blue Hills Regional School District & A.V. — December 22, 1998

    Upheld 30-day suspension of teacher and dismissed his grievance. The district had "just cause" to suspend the teacher for using abusive language and physical confrontations when dealing with students. The teacher's behavior represented a serious violation of proper teaching conduct. [8 pages]
    AAA# 390-00466-98Arbitrator Frank E. A. Sander

  22. Agawam Public Schools — April 15, 1999

    Reduced the thirty-day suspension of a guidance counselor to a written reprimand. The guidance counselor was disciplined for handling a police officer's disarmed and unloaded gun in the presence of students. The school district suspended the guidance counselor for lack of good judgement, conduct unbecoming a teacher, incompetence and violation of both the law and the school's zero tolerance for weapons policy. The arbitrator first ruled that suspensions pursuant to c. 71, § 42D, like dismissals pursuant to c. 71, §42, are subject to review under a just cause standard. The arbitrator found that the language in §42D referring to "good cause" was only applicable to immediate suspensions, not ultimate discipline. The arbitrator found that principles of progressive discipline required reduction of the discipline, as the guidance counselor had a previously unblemished record and, while his actions demonstrated a serious lapse in judgement, there was no indication that any student was threatened. [21 pages]
    AAA# 11-390-02034-98Arbitrator Tammy Brynie

  23. Middleborough Public Schools — May 13, 1999

    Arbitrator overturned 30 day suspension of a teacher for failure to report that a student, with whom he had a "somewhat closer" than typical relationship, had embraced and kissed the teacher. The arbitrator found that the school district had never expressed a rule requiring the reporting of such an incident, and that the teacher was not sufficiently apprised of the school district's expectations regarding such reporting. The arbitrator also found that the teacher believed that he was acting in the student's best interest as he admonished the student that her behavior was unacceptable, and the student assured the teacher that she would not engage in such behavior again. The teacher then agreed to the student's request that the teacher not report the incident. [16 pages]
    AAA# 11-390-01711-98Arbitrator Joseph M. Daly

  24. Taunton Public Schools & R.L. — August 9, 1999

    Upheld thirty day suspension of a teacher based on inappropriate, unprofessional conduct, which was also conduct unbecoming a teacher. Teacher had provoked a fight with a student in a class for which teacher had no teaching responsibility. Student and teacher ended up in a wrestling match on the field house floor in front of approximately 70 students. The arbitrator first found that suspensions pursuant to c. 71, § 42D are governed by a statutory "good cause" standard, which the arbitrator found to be narrower than the traditional collective bargaining "just cause" standard. The arbitrator found that by provoking a student in front a large group of students, in a manner that led to a fight between the student and teacher, the teacher's conduct was clearly inappropriate, unprofessional, and unbecoming. (The arbitrator also noted that the teacher's behavior would have merited the discipline under the more restrictive "just cause" standard, were that the appropriate standard.) The arbitrator found that the discipline was warranted based on the seriousness of the offense, and the teacher's disciplinary record, which included three five-day suspensions, including one for fighting with a teacher. [12 pages]
    AAA# 11-390-02415-98Arbitrator Marjorie O'Reilly

  25. Boston Public Schools & S.M. — September 28, 1999

    Reduced a ten-day suspension to a five-day suspension. The arbitrator employed a preponderance of the evidence standard in determining that there was just cause for the suspension and rejected the teacher's argument that a higher standard of proof should be required because the wrongdoing the teacher was accused of could constitute criminal conduct. The arbitrator found that the teacher, who had taught in the district for twenty-six years, used unacceptable physical force when she held a four-year old special needs student tightly by the wrists and pulled and dragged the student around the school. The arbitrator reduced the suspension because of the school district's failure to prove by a preponderance of the evidence that the teacher stepped on the student's fingers. [21 pages]
    AAA# 1139-0232-98Arbitrator Betty E. Waxman

  26. Lowell Public Schools & J.C. — October 22, 1999

    Overturned one-week suspension of a teacher based on alleged incident of pushing and grabbing a student. The principal's investigation of the incident was limited to interviewing other students and the parents of the student. The principal did not interview the teacher involved or any other teachers, nor did the principal check to see if marks that the parent reported on the student's neck were visible. The arbitrator found that the teacher was denied due process because the principal did not discuss the matter with the teacher before notifying her of the suspension. Although the arbitrator found that both the student and her father were apparently sincere witnesses, the arbitrator found that the teacher had been denied due process. The arbitrator found that the teacher was denied the right to a fair investigation, including the right to be heard regarding the charges before the school district decides whether discipline is necessary and what form of discipline is appropriate. Consequently, although both the student and her father were apparently sincere witnesses, the district did not have just cause to suspend the teacher. [12 pages]
    AAA# 11-390-02321-98Arbitrator Sarah Kerr Garraty

  27. Everett Public Schools& D.M. — December 23, 1999

    Overturned thirty-day suspension of a teacher for alleged abuse of sick leave privileges. Teacher received a back injury in an attack by a student. Teacher was out on sick leave for almost three months, based on doctor's advice and written orders. The teacher returned to work when cleared by his orthopedic surgeon. After teacher's return, Superintendent notified teacher of a suspension for abuse of sick leave, based on teacher's outside activities while on sick leave. Arbitrator ruled that although parties could not agree whether good or just cause standard applied to suspension, the district had not met either standard, and the suspension was overturned. The arbitrator cited the teacher's unblemished employment record, the lack of clear district policies on the use of sick leave, and the insufficiency of the facts underlying the Superintendent's suspicions regarding the teacher's back injury. [6 pages]
    AAA# 11-390-00707-99Arbitrator Michael F. Walsh

  28. Boston Public Schools & M.G. — February 1, 2000

    Overturned three-day suspension of a teacher due to district's reliance solely on hearsay testimony at arbitration hearing. Kindergarten student reported to his mother and school principal that the teacher hit him with a marker in the classroom. The principal interviewed two other student witnesses who corroborated student's story. The teacher denied hitting the student. After hearing, the district suspended the teacher, who had received a prior verbal and written warning for inappropriate physical contact with students, for three days. At the arbitration hearing, no students were called as witnesses. Instead, the district relied on the principal's testimony about his interview with the students. The union argued that, although a three-day suspension would be appropriate if the charges were proven, the district had not met its burden of proof. The arbitrator ruled that by relying solely on hearsay evidence, which is admissible in arbitration, but is entitled to little evidentiary weight, the district had failed to meet its burden of proof. [12 pages]
    AAA# 11-390-00568-99Arbitrator Sarah Kerr Garraty

  29. Reading Public Schools & I. E. — May 10, 2000

    Upheld twenty-day suspension of teacher. The teacher made an inappropriate statement about a student's mother in front of the class, criticized the student' inability to "take a joke," and sought to dissuade students from reporting the incident. The teacher had previously received a ten-day suspension for alleged inappropriate remarks. The arbitrator credited testimony of students who witnessed the incident. She rejected the teacher's claims that he was misled about the purpose of the initial investigatory interview and that he was not given timely and accurate information about the complaint against him. The arbitrator determined that the failure to advise the teacher of his right to counsel prior to the initial investigatory interview did not warrant rescission of the suspension, because the teacher had a full and fair opportunity to present a defense. [44 pages]
    AAA# 11-390-01122-98Arbitrator Tammy Brynie

  30. Leicester Public Schools — October 19, 2000

    Upheld three-day suspension of a teacher who drew an "L" on a 7th grade student's forehead for his alleged failure to "listen." The arbitrator based her decision primarily on the teacher's failure to immediately realize the seriousness of her actions, as well as her prior disciplinary record consisting of one written reprimand and four oral warnings. The teacher's apparent unwillingness to take remedial measures such as professional development and counseling in lieu of the three-day suspension also factored into the arbitrator's decision. [13 pages]
    AAA# 11-390-00494-00Arbitrator Marsha Mearns Saylor

  31. North Attleboro Public Schools — January 31, 2001

    Upheld three-day suspension of a teacher who arrived late to school four days in a row and had a history of tardiness. The arbitrator concluded that the proper standard of review is determined by the parties' collective bargaining agreement. In this case, a "just cause" standard was required, although the arbitrator noted that the school district justified its burden under both standards of "just cause" and "good cause" given the teacher's history of tardiness and the district's previous disciplinary action. [16 pages]
    AAA# 11-390-00701-00Arbitrator Betty E. Waxman

  32. Wilmington Public Schools & J.B. — March 10, 2001

    Arbitrator determined that district had just cause to suspend middle school teacher for five days for pulling a student's hair and for requiring students to kneel when requesting permission to leave the classroom. However, the arbitrator converted the suspension to administrative leave with pay in order to maintain the teacher's last year salary for retirement compensation purposes and ordered the teacher to contribute the five day salary to the school's library. [11 pages]
    AAA# 11-390-01008-00Arbitrator Bruce Fraser

  33. North Shore Regional Vocational School District & M.M. — April 9, 2001

    Upheld one-day suspension of a teacher who, after attempting to get a male student's attention twice, told the student to "stop looking at a part of [a female student's] anatomy and start looking up here." The arbitrator based his decision on the teacher's history of making inappropriate comments towards his students, although only one incident resulted in documented discipline, commenting that this incident, standing alone, "probably would not justify discipline beyond perhaps an oral warning." However, given the teacher's past behavior, the arbitrator concluded that the school had a "good and substantial reason" for suspending the teacher. [9 pages]
    AAA# 11-390-1859-00Arbitrator Michael W. Stutz

  34. Norton Public Schools — July 6, 2001

    Reduced three-day suspension to letter of reprimand. The teacher refused to attend a meeting called by the superintendent to discuss the teacher's demeanor and conduct at a meeting concerning a special education student. The teacher said she wanted her attorney present and did not think her attorney could attend on short notice. The superintendent offered to allow an Association representative to attend. The arbitrator determined that the teacher's refusal to meet with the superintendent constituted insubordination. However, since the teacher had not been warned that her refusal to attend the meeting would result in discipline up to and including suspension, the arbitrator reduced the penalty to a written reprimand. [19 pages]
    AAA# 11-390-00136-01Arbitrator Nancy E. Peace

  35. Wilmington Public Schools & I.E. — July 30, 2001

    In this consolidated arbitration, the arbitrator found that the school district did not have just cause for either a one day or a subsequent two-day suspension of a teacher for tardiness. The arbitrator found that although the district engaged in progressive discipline regarding the teacher's ongoing tardiness, the district failed to adequately investigate and consider the teacher's medical condition (depression) and a requested accommodation, prior to imposing discipline. The teacher submitted medical documentation establishing that her depression and the medication she was taking led to her late arrivals. She and her doctor requested that she be allowed to start and end her day 20 minutes later. The district rejected the request without discussing the matter with the teacher, her physician or her union. The arbitrator found that because the district failed to grant the teacher the protections of disability discrimination statutes, the discipline did not conform to the Commonwealth's prevailing standards of justice and fair dealing, and thus the suspensions were not based on just cause. [31 pages]
    AAA# 11-390-00107-00Arbitrator Tammy Brynie, Esq.

  36. North Shore Regional Vocational School District & M.M. — March 15, 2002

    Reduced three-day suspension to one-day suspension. The arbitrator found that the teacher did not fail to cooperate in the principal's investigation, and that the teacher's comments to his students before his performance evaluation did not amount to the serious misconduct of making quid pro quo threats and promises to influence the evaluation. However, since the teacher's comments were inappropriate and he had been disciplined previously for improper remarks to students (see # 33 above), the arbitrator found the district had just cause to impose a one-day suspension. The arbitrator also addressed procedural requirements and the standard of review for suspensions under G.L. c. 71, § 42D. [22 pages]
    AAA# 11-390-01715-1Arbitrator Gary D. Altman

  37. Lawrence School Committee & F.O. — February 11, 2003

    Overturned one-day suspension of a teacher for using inappropriate force against a student and directed the School Department to remove all references to the suspension from the teacher's record and to make her whole for lost wages and benefits. The arbitrator found that nearly all of the evidence offered by the School Department was circumstantial or hearsay, and was insufficient to establish just cause for the suspension. [12 pages]
    AAA# 11-390-00997-02Arbitrator Nancy E. Peace

  38. Boston Public Schools & B.H. — April 18, 2003

    Upheld ten-day suspension of a teacher who had taught in the Boston Public Schools for 26 years. The arbitrator found that the teacher intentionally slammed a door on a student, causing the student physical harm. In light of prior discipline of the teacher, including a warning about use of corporal punishment and a written reprimand related to inappropriate remarks about "[putting] a fist to" a student, the arbitrator found the ten-day suspension consistent with principles of just cause and progressive discipline. [30 pages]
    AAA# 11-390-00082-02Arbitrator Tim Bornstein

  39. Boston School Committee & C.L. — August 11, 2004

    Upheld 20-day suspension of teacher with no prior disciplinary record. The teacher was suspended for slapping on the hand a student with autism and very limited communication ability. The arbitrator credited the testimony of a substitute teacher/witness, which was corroborated by a student, over the conflicting testimony of the suspended teacher. [12 pages]
    AAA# 11-390-00112-0Arbitrator Philip Dunn

  40. Boston Public Schools & A.C. — November 12, 2004

    Upheld one-day suspension of a school nurse. After a teacher brought a student who had collapsed in the hallway into the nurse's office, the nurse called a nurse practitioner from a health clinic on the other side of the school to examine the student, rather than treating the patient herself. The nurse had had conflicts with the student's family in the past and had agreed with the nurse practitioner that the nurse practitioner would treat the student for a recurring condition. The arbitrator found that both employer-generated and professional (school nursing practice) documents specified the appropriate conduct for school nurses in these circumstances, and the nurse had no reasonable basis for failing to assess the student's vital signs. [5 pages]
    AAA# 11-390-02214-03Arbitrator Alexander Macmillan

  41. City of Springfield School Department & R.R. — January 25, 2005

    Arbitrator reduced a 7-day suspension to a written reprimand. The teacher reacted inappropriately when a student in his auto-detailing course found live ammunition in the car of another teacher. The teacher told students to "keep it quiet," and when told by his department head to report the issue to the administration, he made only minimal attempts to do so before returning the ammunition to its owner. The arbitrator found that in light of the teacher's lack of any prior discipline, the unusual circumstances involved, and a 7-day suspension imposed on the teacher who actually brought the ammunition to school, the school had just cause to discipline the teacher, but that a written reprimand was the appropriate discipline.
    AAA# 11-390-01227-04Richard G. Higgins, Arbitrator

  42. Gloucester Public Schools & J.D. — June 17, 2005

    Upheld a four-day suspension. The arbitrator found that the teacher's involvement in sending an intimidating letter to members of the school committee justified discipline. Four-day suspension, with possibility of reduction to one day if teacher participated in Employee Assistance Program (for anger management) was reasonable. Superintendent and arbitrator relied on their own lay comparisons of handwriting samples to conclude that teacher had addressed the envelopes. (14 pages)
    AAA# 11-390-00053-05Arbitrator Tammy Byrnie

  43. Lunenberg Public Schools & P. R. — August 12, 2005

    Arbitrator reduced a 15-day suspension to 7 days. The school district suspended the teacher for 15 days for inappropriate, hostile behavior toward a colleague and confrontational behavior toward students. The arbitrator found that district had established sufficient grounds to discipline based on actions toward the fellow teacher, but there was insufficient evidence to find that the teacher's behavior toward students merited discipline. As the suspension letter called the behavior toward students "more troubling," the arbitrator determined that more than 50% of the 15 day suspension must be attributed to that behavior. Therefore, the arbitrator reduced the suspension to 7 days to reflect the discipline attributable only to the proven misconduct. (27 pages)
    AAA# 11-390-02200-04Joseph M. Daly, Arbitrator

  44. Shawsheen Valley Regional School District and D.F. — December 1, 2006

    Arbitrator reduced a 10-day suspension to 5 days. The school suspended the teacher for using inappropriate language in a classroom. The arbitrator reduced the suspension due to concerns about the manner in which the school conducted its investigation (no students other than the complaining student were interviewed) and the comparative harshness of the penalty (the school had given another teacher a 2-day suspension for "inappropriate touching"). (21 pages)
    AAA# 11-390-02702-05Michael Walsh, Arbitrator

  45. Boston Public Schools and E.B. — April 5, 2007

    Arbitrator overturned a 20-day suspension of a teacher. The school suspended the teacher for inadequately supervising her classroom and for insubordination, after an older student from another class had inappropriate contact with a kindergarten student in the teacher's classroom. The arbitrator found that the school failed to show that the teacher's supervision of her class was neglectful, or that she failed to enforce school rules, or that she fell short of what would be reasonably expected of teachers in the district. The arbitrator also did not credit the principal's testimony that she had directed the teacher to keep apart the two students involved in the incident; therefore the insubordination charge was not substantiated. [13 pages]
    AAA# 11-39-01188-06Timothy J. Buckalew, arbitrator

  46. Oxford Public Schools and J.P. — July 9, 2007

    Arbitrator upheld a 10-day suspension of a teacher. The principal suspended the teacher for arguing with the principal when she told him he could not leave early to referee a sporting event and for leaving school early despite the principal's instruction. The arbitrator upheld the 10-day suspension, after considering both the positive evaluations the teacher had received for his performance with students and the teacher's history of receiving warnings and suspensions for misuse of leave time and for interactions with supervisors. (11 pages)
    AAA# 11-390-02641-06James S. Cooper, Arbitrator

  47. Assabet Valley Vocational School District & A.S. — April 19, 2011

    Arbitrator overturned a 20-day suspension of a librarian. The school suspended a school librarian for conduct unbecoming a teacher, after an incident in which a student was located in the library when she should have been in class. The district alleged that the librarian lied about when the student signed in at the library desk. The arbitrator, having determined that the "just cause" standard set forth in G.L. c. 71, § 42, is applicable to suspensions under § 42D, found that the District did not have just cause to suspend the teacher as the District's investigation of the incident was inadequate. (16 pages)
    AAA# 11-390-01714-10Roger S. Achille, Arbitrator

  48. Weymouth Public Schools and P.O. — April 30, 2012

    Upheld suspension of a kindergarten teacher. The kindergarten teacher received a 1½ day suspension for leaving a kindergarten student alone in a bathroom while the teacher took the rest of the class on a nature walk. The arbitrator rejected the teacher's argument that she was not responsible for leaving the student alone as she had informed a one-to-one aide for another student in the class to watch for the missing student to join the end of the line of students. The district had reduced the suspension from 3 days for administrative convenience; the arbitrator found the district would have been justified in imposing a 3-day suspension. [Note this suspension arbitration was combined with a dismissal arbitration, which is summarized in the teacher dismissal summaries.][22 pages]
    AAA# 11-390-00127-12Arbitrator James S. Cooper

  49. Wellesley Public Schools & J.L. — September 18, 2012

    Arbitrator upheld the 10-day suspension of a school social worker for abusing sick time. The educator went on a medical leave after a diagnosis of cancer. The arbitrator found that the district established that the educator misused sick leave for 7 ½ weeks before his surgery (because the leave was based on a need for immediate surgery) and for most of the 8 weeks after surgery, where the educator was observed performing activities calling for sitting or standing for long periods of time and lifting heavy weights (working out at a gym, coaching a softball team). The arbitrator found the district did not prove that the educator intentionally failed to provide a required FMLA form and could not rely on concerns about how the educator handled the transition of his caseload because these concerns were not raised until the arbitration hearing. [20 pages]
    AAA# 11-390-01999-1Bonnie McSpiritt, arbitrator

  50. Blackstone Valley Vocational Regional School District & M.S. — May 1, 2014

    Arbitrator upheld the 15-day suspension of a teacher who intentionally disclosed to his class questions and answers from a grade-wide final exam prior to its administration. The arbitrator found that it was generally understood by the faculty that this behavior could result in discipline and that a 15-day suspension was commensurate with the teacher's wrongful conduct. [20 pages]
    AAA# 11-390-01081-12Paul Higgins, arbitrator



Last Updated: February 12, 2016
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