Paterson teacher accused of spitting on student receives two-year license suspension
By Jayed Rahman
Published: March 16, 2017
A city high school teacher accused of spitting on an unruly student has been given a two-year teaching license suspension, according to a decision by the state board of examiners.
Lat Sall, the John F. Kennedy High School teacher, initially denied the May 13th, 2014 incident ever happened. However, he told the board in a hearing last year, he “over-reacted,” when the state was considering revoking his teaching license.
Sall taught French at the high school. He got into a verbal altercation with a girl, who was late to class. He wrote up the student and directed her to go with security to see an administrator. She tore up the disciplinary slip and cursed at the teacher. This interaction spilled outside of the classroom with the teacher following behind her as she exited the classroom leaving his class unattended.
The girl went down a flight of stairs. From the railing, Sall allegedly shouted something to the effect of: “You’re dirty and stink, go home and take a shower.” And he spit on her.
Sall has denied both spitting on the student or insulting her. The district filed tenure charges against the teacher who worked at the Paterson schools for 13 years. An arbitrator recognized the student, who at one pointed insulted the teacher’s dead mother accusing her of being a whore, was a “chronic irritant” for the teacher, but ruled against him.
Paterson placed him on 120-day unpaid suspension after the incident. And later terminated him following the arbitrator’s ruling. Sall landed a teaching position in East Orange for 2015-16 school year, according to state records.
Sall argued to the board last year that revoking his teaching certificate was a “draconian” punishment for a single incident over a 13-year long teaching career. The state considered his 13 years of positive evaluations and his testimony to issue a much reduced two-year suspension of his teacher of French and supervisor certificates on January 19th, 2017.