The Panel’s Proposal
In the case of Bridgeport Board of Education v. Nage, the Bridgeport Board of Education sought to vacate, or remove, a prior decision in favor of a former custodian’s reinstatement to a Bridgeport school. The board of education had terminated the custodian’s employment after he had mailed to various city officials a packet of materials that contained detailed descriptions of mass shooting incidents at public schools. A handwritten note concluded with the statement, “If I’m being punished for breaking the rules then we all should.”
Following arbitration, an alternative form of dispute resolution, a panel found that, while the offense was serious, the custodian should be able to retain his position on the condition he successfully complete an employee assistance program and be deemed fit to return to work. The board of education fully rejected this proposal.
Overturning the Initial Decision
The court agreed with the board of education, because the custodian’s conduct would expose the board of education, its schools and students to substantial liability and danger. Should the panel’s proposed solution fail, the board of education would face a serious and dire threat to the welfare of its faculty and students. The custodian, as an employee of a public school, caters to a vulnerable population in the public sector where the board of education is required to provide a safe place for children. The custodian’s threat of mass murder thoroughly undermined contemplations that his reinstatement should be appropriate.
This case was not handled by our firm. However, if you have any questions regarding this case, or any education or employment matter, please contact Joseph Maya at 203-221-3100 or by email at JMaya@Mayalaw.com.