Teacher Who Reportedly Showered 14-Year-Old With Gifts, Texts Keeps His Job

| by Sarah Fruchtnicht

A New York City teacher who allegedly exchanged hundreds of inappropriate texts with a 14-year-old boy did not lose his job over the incident.

The teen’s parents complained to school officials about James Rampulla Jr., 44, who taught at Irwin Altman Middle School in Queens.

At an administrative trial they provided evidence showing Rampulla sent 513 texts to their son after 11 p.m. Some of those messages including the words “I love you,” the New York Post reported.

The teen told investigators that Rampulla once put his hand on his thigh while they were working together at the World of Discovery Summer Day Camp in Bayside.

He also let the student watch pornography at his apartment, according to a report by Richard Condon, the special commissioner of investigation for NYC public schools.

In addition, the report says Rampulla bought the teen expensive gifts like a pair of Air Jordans, a Wii game console and True Religion jeans.

Rampulla denied the allegations.

He was found guilty of misconduct by hearing officer Mary J. O’Donnell after an eight-day trial. He was not guilty of sexual misconduct. O’Donnell said there was insufficient evidence to determine with the relationship was “paternal, familial or sexual.”

He was suspended without pay for the fall of 2014 and can return to work in the spring.

The teacher's union struck a deal with the city in May that laid down rules about inappropriate behavior with students. Texting, particularly of a sexual nature, was banned and could warrant firing, according to Christian Science Monitor.

The boy’s father became so concerned about the texts that he blocked the teacher’s number from the phone and eventually took it away.

Principal Jeffrey Slivko testified at the hearing that he didn’t want Rampulla at his school because he “demonstrated poor judgment and violated his trust, and that of the parents and the students.”

Rampulla, who makes $86,590 per year, has no prior disciplinary history.

According to the Department of Education, he will enter a pool of teachers without permanent assignment who substitute.

Sources: New York Post, Christian Science Monitor