An appeals court on Wednesday overturned the firing of two white New Jersey teachers accused of calling black students “Negroes.”
The judges called the penalty too harsh and ordered the state education commissioner’s office to hold a new hearing for Brigitte Geiger and Sharon Jones. The Mount Olive High School physical education teachers have denied making the comments in a locker room in March 2012.
An administrative law judge recommended that the teachers be dismissed after finding testimony credible from two girls in the senior class.
One of the girls said the teachers were “yelling really loud.”
The teachers filed an appeal, arguing that their termination was a case of age discrimination. Jones had been a teacher for 31 years; Geiger had taught for 28 years.
The appeals court said Geiger and Jones had long “unblemished” records and other teachers in similar circumstances had not been dismissed.