In a decision that has outraged parents, a panel of judges in Manhattan has ruled that a school had no business firing a pair of female teachers who had sex with each other in one of the buildings classroom.
The decision came from Manhattan appellate judges who said Brooklyn’ James Madison High School reacted too harshly when it fired foreign language teachers Alini Brito, 34, and Cindy Mauro, 38 for engaging in sexual acts involving going topless in 2009.
“The penalty of termination is shockingly disproportionate,” said the ruling, which noted that “engagement in what appeared to be consensual sexual conduct with an adult colleague is not in and of itself criminal or otherwise improper.”
The judge went on to praise the teachers, saying they had their liaison at the school because they were there after hours to attend a musical competition, even though they were under no obligation to do so. During the competition the pair snuck away and went to a third floor classroom where they were caught making out and “partially undressed” by school safety agents.
The court said that the women should have only deserved a slap on the wrist and to be told not to do it again and ordered the Department of Education to impose a “lesser penalty” than the firing.
The ruling has spurred outrage among teachers who have said the judge’s ruling has now given a green light for teachers to engage in any type of sexual activity they want to regardless of how outrageous it might be.
“[It] sets a poor example for other teachers. They may think they can do it, too,” one James Madison teacher, who asked not to be named, told the New York Post.
The Post noted that the ruling is also disturbing to students at the school, which became known as “Horndog High” after news of the duos activities spread throughout the student body.
“A student could have walked in on them,” 10th-grader Tiffany Kagan told the Post. “Things like that shouldn’t be done in the classroom. Couldn’t they have waited until they got home?”
The ruling is not the first time sexual relationships by teachers have received little to no consequences. In 2013, Utah High School teacher Courtney Louise Jarrell, 23 was accused of rape and forcible sexual abuse after having sex with an underage 17 year old student.
In February, Jarrell pleaded guilty to three counts of misdemeanor sexual battery and agreed to surrender her teaching license. She is scheduled to be sentenced on April 8; however, prosecutors are not expected to seek jail time for her.