A New York State Supreme Court judge overturned a ruling that had called for the firing of 34-year old Brooklyn high school teacher Damian Esteban. The teacher was initially arrested for heroin possession while serving on jury duty earlier this year. After 20 bags of heroin were found in a cigarette box in his backpack that he brought to the courthouse, an arbitrator ruled that Esteban be fired from his position as a teacher at the Williamsburg High School for Architecture and Design.
The State Supreme Court judge handling the case recently ruled in Esteban’s favor, describing the initial ruling that Esteban be fired as “unduly harsh” and claiming it is “shocking to this court’s sense of fairness.”
Esteban initially claimed that he was unaware of the presence of drugs in his backpack. He agreed to go to a treatment program and the charges were subsequently dismissed, Politicker claims.
New York City Mayor Bloomberg was vocal about his disapproval of the judge’s new decision. “We could not disagree more strongly with the judge’s decision to overturn an arbitrator’s ruling terminating a teacher for possessing 20 bags of heroin,” Bloomberg said in a statement released this afternoon.
Under the judge’s new ruling, Esteban cannot be fired from his position at the Williamsburg High School for Architecture and Design on the basis of his drug possession infraction. Bloomberg described Esteban’s continued teaching as a “callous indifference to the well-being of our students.”
Attorney Michael Cardozo, working on behalf of New York City, echoed Bloomberg’s sentiments on the trial: “We cannot fathom how a teacher who took 20 bags of heroin into a courthouse is fit to stand in front of a classroom and teach the city’s schoolchildren.”
The mayor plans to put his words into action by taking the case to an appellate court.