New York, NY(Law Firm Newswire) November 20, 2018 – The Long Beach School District appealed to the New York State Education Department for a final decision following a public disciplinary hearing to close a lengthy case involving a special education teacher.
Long Beach Middle School teacher Lisa Weitzman allegedly abused five special education students from 2009 to 2014. The school system placed her on paid suspension in November 2014 after becoming aware of the allegations. She has collected more than $540,000 in salary and benefits since then.
“Under New York law, teachers accused of misconduct have the right to a disciplinary hearing,” said Peter Brill, a New York criminal defense attorney with Brill Legal Group, who is not involved with the case. “Dealing with school boards and officials alone can be daunting. Individuals facing disciplinary hearings should ensure they are represented by a skilled attorney who has their best interests in mind.”
The Education Department appointed Hearing Officer Robert Grey to oversee Weitzman’s disciplinary hearing. He was tasked with reviewing 29 days of testimony provided from March 2016 to May 2017. The hearing was open to the public at Weitzman’s request. The school board is seeking her dismissal.
In July, school district officials sent a letter to the Education Department to express their frustration with the lack of a decision in the case. “For 14 months, we have waited for disposition from the hearing officer and we find it quite frustrating to move into another school year with no decision,” said School Board President Dr. Dennis Ryan, who wrote the letter. It called for “some definitive date” for a verdict.
The Long Beach school board said Grey’s lack of a resolution on potential disciplinary measures has prevented other related lawsuits from moving forward. Several separate lawsuits have been filed in state and federal courts naming Weitzman, other teachers and the school district.
Weitzman denied the numerous allegations against her, claiming she was always acting in her students’ best interests. She said school officials retaliated against her when she asked for more classroom resources. The middle school teacher faced accusations of cursing at students, using her classroom restroom for “timeout” sessions, taping latex gloves to a student’s hands and threatening to restrain children with zip ties.
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