Teacher’s Tardy Excuse Times 111: I Was Eating Breakfast

TRENTON (AP) -

An elementary school teacher who was allowed to keep his job despite being late for work 111 times in two years said Friday that breakfast is to blame for his tardiness.

“I have a bad habit of eating breakfast in the morning, and I lost track of time,” 15-year veteran teacher Arnold Anderson said.

In a decision filed Aug. 19, an arbitrator in New Jersey rejected an attempt by the Roosevelt Elementary School in New Brunswick to fire Anderson from his $90,000-a-year job, saying he was entitled to progressive discipline. But the arbitrator also criticized Anderson’s claim that the quality of his teaching outweighed his tardiness.

Anderson said he was one to two minutes late to school “at the most” but was prepared and was never late for class.

“I have to cut out eating breakfast at home,” said Anderson, who remains suspended without pay until Jan. 1.

Republican Gov. Chris Christie referenced the case in a tweet on Friday. Christie wrote: “Think I’m too tough on the teachers union? This is what we’re dealing with in NJ.”

Anderson said he was “very upset” to be suspended but conceded that losing his job would have been worse.

When he returns to school in January, “I will be early,” he said.