Under state and federal law, teachers have certain rights, especially in regard to disciplinary proceedings that involve allegations of wrongdoing, incompetence, or poor performance in the classroom. In New York, the terms and conditions of a teacher’s employment are generally determined by state law. As a result, there are specific procedures that must be followed regarding the hiring, firing, and evaluation of teachers. Teachers who are tenured are also granted specific procedural rights and protections that stem from due process clauses within the law as well as their collective bargaining agreements.
When disciplinary matters arise, Districts must proceed according to the requirements laid out in New York Education Law §3020-a. Unfortunately, 3020-a hearings have frequently been used by Districts as a “paper trail” mechanism designed to conceal discrimination on the part of school districts that simply want to fire a teacher for unlawful reasons.
If you’re a teacher and have been the target of harassment and discrimination, it’s important to understand what your legal rights and options are prior to a 30