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Sep 8, 2011 2:47 PMPublication: The Southampton Press

Eastport South Manor Teacher, Charged With Fourth DWI, Suspended From Job

Sep 14, 2011 12:46 PM

The Eastport South Manor School Board last week suspended and agreed to file State Education Department charges against Timothy Schroeder, a high school social studies teacher who was arrested this summer and slapped with his fourth DWI charge.

Mr. Schroeder, a tenured teacher who is making $95,632 this year, is the second teacher in the district to be suspended with pay by the School Board within the last year—the first was Spanish teacher Felipe Argueta, who was suspended in April and arrested by Suffolk County Police in June when he was charged with endangering the welfare of a child. Mr. Argueta, another tenured teacher who will be paid $91,019 this year, has since pleaded not guilty to the charge in Suffolk County 1st District Court in Central Islip.

Although he was not named at the meeting—held last Wednesday, September 7, the first day of the new school year—sources within the district confirmed that the most recently suspended teacher was Mr. Schroeder, who was arrested in July by Long Beach City Police after resisting arrest in his hometown of Long Beach.

Superintendent of Schools Mark A. Nocero declined to comment on the suspension, saying only that the proceedings were a “personnel matter.” The suspended teacher, he stressed during the meeting without naming him, was not in the classroom on the first day of classes.

The State Education Department charges brought against Mr. Schroeder were not disclosed during the meeting, and district officials declined to divulge the nature of the charges.

Under state education law, Mr. Schroeder, 38, will be suspended, with pay, until a hearing can be held between the district and Mr. Schroeder to decide what punishment—if any—he will face for his actions. The hearing will involve a mediator and lawyers for both Mr. Schroeder and the school district, and could take at least a year to complete. The hearing will determine whether or not Mr. Schroeder is guilty of the charges levied against him.

If found guilty, Mr. Schroeder could be fired. If not, he could immediately return to teaching.

According to authorities, Mr. Schroeder led Long Beach City Police on a chase in his car and on foot on July 25 after officers attempted to pull him over. The chase led to him being charged with 21 vehicle and traffic violations, as well as first-degree unlicensed operation of a motor vehicle, a felony, and unlawfully fleeing a police officer while in a motor vehicle, resisting arrest and reckless driving, all misdemeanors.

He was arraigned in Nassau County 1st District Court in Hempstead on July 28 and released from Nassau County Jail after posting $25,000 bail.

William Petrillo, the Rockville Centre attorney who is representing Mr. Schroeder, did not return calls seeking comment. In a previous interview, Mr. Petrillo said his client is now blind in his right eye due to injuries he suffered while in police custody.

Earlier this year, Mr. Argueta was charged with conduct unbecoming of a teacher, insubordination, neglect of duty and endangering the welfare of a student, all charges filed by the school district that preceded the criminal charge of endangering the welfare of a child, a misdemeanor. The charges against Mr. Argueta allege that he asked a female student in his Spanish class to send him photographs of herself in her underwear and that he inappropriately touched her leg. The incident took place in spring 2010.

The hearing for the Spanish language teacher has not yet taken place, and district officials said they don’t have a timetable for when the proceedings will begin.

Both Mr. Argueta and Mr. Schroeder are tenured teachers and, according to state education law, each has been kept on the payroll since his suspension and will continue to be paid until hearings are held.

According to Jane Briggs, a spokeswoman for the State Department of Education, the hearing process typically takes at least a year. That means that on top of attorneys’ fees and fees for a hearing officer, the district will also have to pay the two teachers’ salaries for at least an entire school year. “Generally, it’s a very time-consuming process,” Ms. Briggs said on Monday.

In a presentation Ms. Briggs sent to The Press that was produced by Valerie Grey, the chief operating officer for the State Education Department, titled “Tenured Teacher Hearings: Broke and Broken,” Ms. Grey calls for changes to the rules surrounding disciplinary hearings because of their time-consuming and costly nature.

Ms. Briggs could not say whether the disciplinary hearings were commonplace in Suffolk County or in New York State as a whole, saying only that numerous teachers in Manhattan have gone through the process.

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what a wonderful life! Tenured teacher.
By just breath (82), yuck on Sep 8, 11 8:34 PM
....oh, they forgot to add that the cops beat the living crap out of him while he resisted the arrest and he lost his eye after surgery. Writers leave off the good stuff! At least he was suspended which is a good start for this guy.
By BIGjimbo12 (201), East Quogue on Sep 8, 11 9:40 PM
Gee a year with full pay and benefits until they can determine that he should be fired. Why after 3 previous DWI's is this person not in prison. Once I could understand everyone entitled to a mistake after that prison should be manditory. You have to love liberal NYS laws and then the protection of being in the teachers union which means you have to kill and then maybe you'll be fired.Pathetic
By maxwell (169), speonk on Sep 9, 11 11:14 AM
This comment has been removed because it is a duplicate, off-topic or contains inappropriate content.
By lifesaver (118), speonk on Sep 15, 11 3:57 PM