A New York teachers’ union is shockingly fighting to allow a drug-addicted teacher to keep working with children in the classroom. Heroin and drug paraphernalia including needles were found on two separate occasions since Christmas in the men’s faculty bathroom at Benjamin Cosor Elementary School in Fallsburg, N.Y. Security cameras had narrowed down the offender to eight possible staff members, but the local teachers’ union has supported those faculty in their refusal to submit to drug tests. Only one of the eight employees submitted to testing.
Understandably, the prospect of someone on drugs working with small children has upset many parents. “I have to take a drug test to put kids on that bus I drive,” said Keith Unger, a father of three students and bus driver for the district. “And now I have to send my three children to school and not know if it’s their teacher, or if their teacher is going to OD because they want to shoot up in the bathroom, and it’s scary.” Other parents were shocked because they simply assumed that teachers were drug tested.
Fallsburg police chief Sammie Williams said he has suspicions about the seven individuals. “If you got nothing to hide, give me some urine,” he said. “Let’s clear the teachers’ names who are taking care of these babies for six or seven hours a day.”
Police questioned the seven individuals for two days and even had their classrooms turned over to substitute teachers on the second day. Attorney Jared Hart, who is representing one of the teachers, objected to the approach towards questioning because students could see police interviewing them. “[My client is] embarrassed, and he’s also angry that he has to defend himself,” said Hart. “He doesn’t feel that he has to be defending himself against something he’s not involved in.”
Superintendent Ivan Katz confirmed that parents were notified about the incident earlier this week. Although he declined to comment in detail about the investigation, he wrote a letter on the school’s website and said he takes “any allegations of drug use in the school district very, very seriously.