A Hunterdon Central Regional High School AP chemistry teacher can be fired for threatening to lower a student's grade after a parent complaint, an arbitrator with the state Department of Education has ruled.
Tenure charges were brought against Richard Allen after he wrote in an email on May 6, 2016, that he would lower a student's grade to an F in retaliation for her mother's questions about his lesson plans, the 48-page report on the tenure charges showed.
Allen also wrote "[expletive deleted]" in an email to his supervisor, Karen Batista, and shared confidential information about his students with his wife in a series of emails, many containing disparaging remarks about them, according to the 13 charges brought against him.Here is the arbitrator's judgment, with an excerpt of the offending e-mail:
...Karen, I am deeply disappointed in your handling of this matter. "Understand that you are under contract?"???!!! Frankly, [expletive deleted]. I work my [expletives deleted] off to be a great teacher and I expect the common courtesy of at least checking in more tactfully (or in person!) when receiving second hand (and erroneous) information you received from the parent. But a threat right off the get go? No thanks.I'm not going to pretend that I've read the whole file in detail, but it sounds like there was plenty of items for Dr. Allen to be irritated at. Suffice it to say that I understand what it is like to be really angry at one's supervisor and want to write a long, irritated e-mail defending oneself and including choice expletives. Still, it's unwise and not a recommened course of action (and it seems that he knew it right away). A reminder for us all of how it can backfire.
(UPDATE: For the record, I feel that Dr. Allen earned any censure he may receive; threatening to arbitrarily change grades because a parent questioned him demonstrates his already demonstrated poor judgment.)