More than three years after being fired for an after-hours sexual tryst in a classroom, a judge has ordered the Department of Education to rehire the two Madison High School teachers who got dirty in the dark.
Cindy Mauro and Alini Brito were fired in December 2010, more than a year after reports surfaced that the two foreign language teachers were caught by a janitor “undressed” in an empty classroom. The teachers have since been fighting for their jobs back, and an appeals court decided that their termination was “shockingly disproportionate,” since both were consenting adults not at the school in an official capacity at the time of the incident.
“The penalty of termination of unemployment is shockingly disproportionate to (their) misconduct,” the Manhattan Appellate Division wrote in their decision. The five-member panel noted that “lesser penalties have been imposed where a teacher had an ongoing relationship or engaged in inappropriate behavior with a student.
Mauro and Brito’s lawyer suggested to the Daily News that they may pursue back pay as well.
Department of Education officials may appeal the decision. If they choose not to, they may still impose less sever penalties against the teachers.
The two were caught undressed in a classroom in 2009 by a janitor. It was later reported that they had a few drinks after school at a local bar, then went back to the school to watch a student performance. At some point, they headed to a darkened classroom and undressed.
At the time, Mauro said she was helping give Brito, who suffers from diabetes, an insulin shot. A state arbitrator later determined that the two were “more likely than not” engaged in a “sexual encounter.”