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1 N.J.A.R. 381

Woodbridge, School District of the Township of v. Rumage, Richard
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Citation: 1 N.J.A.R. 381
Decision Date: 1980
Agency: DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION
Synopsis: The Board of Education certified tenure charges against Rumage for conduct unbecoming a teacher and incapacity, pursuant to N.J.S.A. 18A:6- 10, after Rumage pled guilty to conspiracy and bookmaking charges. The parties agreed that this matter should be decided by way of summary judgment since there were no contested issues of fact, and agreed that the issues to be addressed were: 1 ) whether conspiracy and bookmaking were crimes of moral turpitude; 2) does the conduct underlying these crimes and the three-month prison sentence served constitute conduct unbecoming a teacher; and 3) may the Board reinstate Rumage to his position as guidance counsellor? The administrative law judge found that the acts in question occurred away from school, did not touch upon school work and that the Board had no objection to rehiring Rumage since it felt he had been sufficiently punished by his sentence. In addition, the judge found that the acts in question did not automatically involve moral turpitude since they are not, in and of themselves, acts of vice nor do they include an element of fraud. The judge pointed out that while the conduct underlying these crimes did amount to conduct unbecoming a teacher, this does not mean that the teacher must be automatically dismissed. The underlying conduct was the only instance of impropriety in an unblemished career and the teacher had the confidence of both the Board and the community at large. Based on these findings, the administrative law judge concluded that the tenure charges should be dismissed but that the conduct involved did warrant the imposition of a penalty in the form of a forfeiture of two months salary. Stewart Hutt, Esq., for Petitioner (Hutt, Berkow, Hollander & Jankowski, Attorneys) Jack Wysoker, Esq., for Respondent (Mandel, Wysoker, Sherman Glassner & Weingartner, Attorneys)