Second grade teacher Ron S. Tuitt is accused of having students carry plastic bottles of his urine to flush in the boys’ room. Tuitt uses a wheelchair because he has a condition that causes his legs to swell, making it difficult for him to walk.
In a case lasting more than two years, a state administrative law judge upheld most of the 17 charges in the tenure case against Truitt. New Jersey education commissioner Christopher Cerf last week revoked Tuitt's tenure and allowed Paterson Public Schools to fire him, reports The Record.
Peter Tirri, president of the city’s teachers union, said a doctor had determined that Tuitt could continue to teach despite his disability, if the school made certain accessibility accommodations for him.
Tirri claims that former principal Michelle James didn’t like him because he was popular with students. "One by one, the principal took away all the accommodations and made it more and more difficult for him to deal with his situation," he said.
The judge, Evelyn Marose, said in her ruling that Tuitt had a plastic urine bottle and, “On numerous occasions during the 2006–2007 school year, Mr. Tuitt asked his students to close their eyes and keep them closed, without peeking.’’ The judge then wrote that one student peeked and "saw Mr. Tuitt put the urine bottle by his pants and saw Mr. Tuitt put his hands in his pants."
After Truitt was placed on administrative leave in November 2010, the teacher sent emails to two students’ parents, according to the ruling.
“This school year has been ruined because our principal hates my guts and believes that fat, unattractive disabled people should be picked upon and drummed out of teaching dispute a career long record of excellence.”
That conduct, the judge ruled, “was inappropriate and unprofessional and constitutes conduct unbecoming a teaching staff member.”
“I’m happy the commissioner upheld this,’’ said School Board President Christopher Irving. “We put our trust in this man to teach our children and he put them in a very unhealthy educational environment.’’