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3 N.J.A.R. 237

Williams, Portia; Red Bank, School District of the Borough of v
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Citation: 3 N.J.A.R. 237
Decision Date: 1981
Agency: DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION
Synopsis: The School District of the Borough of Red Bank filed tenure charges against a teacher, Portia Williams, charging that, on several occasions, she struck pupils in her class with a ruler in violation of N.J.S.A. 18A:6-1 which prohibits corporal punishment of pupils. In a preliminary ruling, the administrative law judge concluded that the standard of proof in teacher tenure matters should be proof by a preponderance of the evidence. The judge rejected the argument that In Re: Polk, 178 N.J. Super. 191 (App. Div. 1981) which held that the standard of proof in a medical license disciplinary proceeding is clear and convincing evidence, the standard used in disbarment proceed- ings against attorneys, had any application to this case. The judge reasoned that the removal of a teacher from a tenure position is not tantamount to the revocation of a teaching certificate and that while a teacher who loses a tenure position may have difficulty in finding another teaching position, that situation is clearly distinguishable froln the situation in which, after revocation of a license, a person is absolutely precluded from practicing the licensed occupation. As to the substance of the tenure charges, the administrative law judge concluded that Williams hit various students in her class lightly on the hand with a ruler for disciplinary purposes during both the 1978-79 and 1979-80 school years. The judge concluded that such conduct constituted corporal punishment even if there was no physi- cal harm. Although such conduct was found to be unprofessional, the judge concluded that it did not warrant forfeiture of tenure rights since Williams did not intend to inflict any physical pain on her pupils nor was there any evidence of lack of self-control on her part. Accordingly, the judge ordered that Williams be continued in her tenure status but denied her salary increment for the 1980-81 school year. Martin M. Barger, Esq. for Petitioner (Reussille, Cornwell, Mausner & Carotenuto, Attorneys) Arnold M. Melik, Esq. for Respondent (Greenberg & Mellk, Attor- neys)
Rule(s) Cited: 6:11-3.7 
Citation Tracker modified-State Bd. of Ed.; affirmed -App. Div., A-4941-79, 11/8/82 (unreported) [Updated through 1991]