Legendary blind gym teacher Steven Sloan may have lost his job over Listerine.
Sloan, 60, a popular coach hailed as a role model for overcoming his handicap, was yanked from PS 102 in Harlem after a parent setting up for a party last year complained she smelled booze on his breath. He claims it was the alcohol-based mouthwash.
His colleagues are outraged. Several recalled his obsession with cleanliness and hygiene, saying he rinsed religiously with Listerine.
“The DOE took an outstanding career and trashed it,” said teacher Lisa Ortiz.
Sloan, who was born with macular degeneration, brought glory to PS 102 when actor Tony Danza nominated him to carry a torch at the 2006 Olympics in Italy. Former principal Sandra Gittens, who worked with Sloan for 14 years, said he arrived early, ran after-school programs, volunteered for lunch duty and chaperoned class trips.
“The students respected him,” she recalled. “He cleared his throat — ahem — and everyone got into line. It was really amazing.”
Sloan knew the halls of PS 102 so well he didn’t use his cane. He taught exercise and sports with an assistant who served as his “eyes” to make sure the kids did as instructed.
A parent claimed she smelled booze off Sloan, found a cup in a garbage can that had remnants of a "brown liquid" in it that smelled like alcohol and accused Sloan of drinking on the job.
Sloan and his defenders claim it was Listerine.
Sloan was never seen drinking from the cup or holding it.
Nevertheless the DOE brought him up on charges for drinking on the job.
The DOE also charged him with sexual harassment for asking anybody if they wanted to go out on a "blind date" with him, a "joke" which Sloan says he habitually used to make people feel comfortable with his disability.
Sloan settled with the DOE and agreed to retire in August.
He is "devastated" about how his career ended:
“They didn’t even let me go back to my school and say goodbye,” he said. “I just want to let everybody know I did my job diligently, with all my heart and soul.”
This is how teaching careers are going to end for many of us now that the tenure rules have been rewritten so that teachers can be dismissed on expedited 3020a charges.
The allegations can be as stupid as sexual harassment against a blind teacher who makes a "blind date" joke or they can be unproven - such as drinking on the job allegations "substantiated" by one accusation and circumstantial evidence.
Doesn't matter anymore - teachers are assumed to be criminals first, guilty first, and the system will do what it does and grind them down and spew them out.
Meanwhile real criminals - the corrupt politician nominally in charge of a system owned and operated by the Wall Street and real estate criminals and tech sociopaths - commit their criminals acts with seeming impunity and only get taken down when their actions go beyond the pale (a la Vito Lopez and the pols that Preet Bharara has charged, convicted and/or indicted with crimes.)