If you thought that the Board of Eduation in NYC was largely responsible for a malfunctioning school system, here’s an incident showing the improbable actions of our justice system in reversing a ruling that reflected rare common sense and discipline. Two female teachers in their thirties were found on the floor in a classroom at Madison High School in Brooklyn; they were topless and the room was dark on an evening when a student performance was taking place in the auditorium. Witnesses reported seeing the women undressed - one of them described seeing one of the teachers kneeling between the legs of the other one. The teachers were both fired.
Let’s assume that witnesses sometimes get facts wrong and let’s accept the highly creative defense argument that one woman was administering insulin to her colleague who suffers from diabetes. Possibly some of the judges who reversed the firing may suffer from this disease as well and might have asked themselves whether they remembered to remove their shirts and bras in order to get an insulin shot. They might also search their minds to think of any other systemic disease that requires injections into the breast as opposed to arm or buttock. George Costanza, the compulsive neurotic on “Seinfeld” took off his shirt before sitting on the bathroom commode - the writers understood that this would get a huge laugh precisely because it was so ridiculous. Do appellate judges lack a sense of humor?
Like Gilbert & Sullivan’s Mikado, the justices felt that this punishment didn’t fit the crime because there was no crime. The behavior occurred between consenting adults. So let’s pretend that what’s obvious isn’t, and that school principals aren’t capable of recognizing behavior, character and judgement unsuitable for those who are role models for our students. The judges felt that no students had witnessed this event - but they all certainly heard about it faster than anyone could say: “check out the NY Post, the Daily News, the local news on tv and the internet.” Does using the classroom for a tryst - oops, an emergency room for topless medical care - have to be a crime in order for employers to decide that people who do this shouldn’t be teaching teenaged kids? How long would an employer keep two nurses who were undressed and using a hospital room for their relaxation or medicinal needs? How long would you keep a nanny found undressed with another person in her room while the children were asleep? Shouldn’t a school be treated with greater consideration than most workplaces precisely because young people are meant to look up to and respect their teachers as part of society’s attempt to mold character?
Things have gotten curioser and curioser when the Board of Ed manages to do something right the first time and the arm of the law smacks them down. When Alice fell down the rabbit hole, she landed in a topsy turvy world. I wonder whether the eminent judges interpreted that to mean a topless, curvy one.
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