English teacher defends himself in district hearing over alleged use of racial slur
A high school English teacher was accused of using a racial slur while incorrectly explaining a word to his class. He testified in a public termination hearing. Under New York law, employees facing disciplinary proceedings can choose to have a private or public hearing.
Jim Quinlisk teaches at Brighton High School in Rochester, New York. He said he felt shocked and hurt at the allegations against him, which described him as a racist.
Quinlisk was teaching a class in which a student who was reading aloud from Shakespeare’s Macbeth came across a word that sounded like a racial slur. Sensing the student’s hesitation, he paused the reading to explain that the words were different. The word in question was “niggardly,” which means stingy or not forthcoming. The teacher allegedly said the racial slur that sounds like the word multiple times during the discussion.
One of Quinlisk’s students was offended by his use of the word and was removed from the class. The student testified at the hearing, saying the teacher used the racial slur several times. Quinlisk said he only used it once.
The teacher maintained he stood by everything he said in class, along with hoping for an opportunity to speak to the student or their parents. His request was denied.
Quinlisk also noted that a Brighton Central School District official said, “We want you out of here,” when informing him about the charges he was facing. The hearing officer in the case had 30 days after the final hearing to decide whether the teacher should be disciplined or fired.
Being a teacher in New York is becoming tougher each year. Quinlisk did not have any disciplinary issues during his more than 18 years of teaching at the school.
If you are a teacher facing a disciplinary hearing, you need a knowledgeable attorney to represent your interests when dealing with school boards and school district attorneys. The defense lawyers at Brill Legal Group can help.