School board member Emanuel Capers has reached a settlement in the ethics case filed by the head of the teachers’ union.
As part of the settlement, the school board member had to issue an apology to teachers and other groups.
“In December of 2015, I posted a video and commentary on my personal Facebook page which related to an incident that occurred at one of our schools. The video exhibited a situation that appeared to me to possibly place students in harm’s way. My post was not intended to expose what might be construed as a confidential personnel matter. I apologize to the Board of Education, Paterson Education Association, the teacher and any member of the community who took offense to my post,” read Capers’ apology.
Capers was taken up on ethics charges by John McEntee, Jr., president of the Paterson Education Association, after he posted the video of a teacher swearing and shouting at a group of unruly students on social media.
The teacher resigned following the incident.
“I’m glad we came to an agreement,” said Capers. “My thing wasn’t to put teachers or anybody in danger. My thing was to let the community know this is what’s going on, this is what we have done.”
Capers has long argued his intention in posting the video was to inform the community. In the same post, he had written the district would take actions against the International High School teacher for her conduct.
Capers said he has championed a pro-teacher agenda on the board. For example, he lead the effort to abolish the controversial rubber room.
The teacher in question also used the n-word in the video. She is African-American and so were some of the students involved.
“Look, we don’t condone the language that was used in the video. We also know and feel this individual should have been entitled to due process regardless of what was in the video,” said McEntee.
She wouldn’t have received a fair hearing after the court of public opinion turned against her due to the video, said the president.
McEntee said as part of the settlement he is circulating the apology to members of the union.
It’s not clear how much the district spent in defending Capers in the case. Because Capers did not lose the case, the district will cover his legal bills.
The settlement ends one ethics case against Capers. A second one was filed against him by James Smith, head of security at the Paterson Public Schools, that remains pending. Smith alleges Capers violated school board ethics when he went on an all-expense paid trip to Arizona.
Capers has vehemently denied Smith’s allegations.
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