Why N.J. Still Needs Tenure Reform: Jersey City Teacher Separates Students Based on Skin Color and Keeps Job

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You can’t make this stuff up.

From the Star-Ledger:

 A tenured Jersey City elementary school teacher who was accused of separating failing fourth-grade students into light- and dark-skin color lines and telling students the light-skinned line would pass fourth grade, is back at work this year after the state recently ended her suspension. 

P.S. 38 teacher Gilda Harris allegedly asked her struggling or failing students to stand up in front of the class on April 3, 2014, and then she asked all of the students in class to stand in one of the two skin color lines on each side of the room. 

Harris, who has denied all of the allegations lodged against her, also was accused of previously seating students during the 2013-2014 school year based on grades. 

According to one student, the “A”, “B,” “C,” and “F” tables respectively represented Princeton University, Rutgers University, New Jersey City University, and Drew University.

Jersey City Public Schools suspended her and went after her tenure but a state arbitrator ruled that the district must revoke her suspension because she didn’t act “with malicious intent.” The district was reinstated her and gave her, as ordered, a month of back pay.

The arbitrator did find her culpable of excessive absenteeism (118 times in seven school years) and coaching students to write negative letters about other teachers.
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