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Rye Teacher Can Return To Classroom Two Years After Being Placed On Leave

Carin Mehler has been told she can return to teach social studies at Rye Middle School next fall, more than two years after she was placed on paid leave. Mehler and three other teachers were accused of improper coaching of pupils during a state test. Photo Credit: Provided
Rye City Schools Superintendent Frank Alvarez made the decision to return Carin Mehler to teaching after more than a two-year paid leave, called a "reassignment," according to a school district spokeswoman. Photo Credit: File photo

RYE, N.Y. -- More than two years after being accused of coaching a fourth-grade student on a state test, Carin Mehler has been told she can return to teach in the Rye City School District.

Rye City School District issued this statement on Monday: "While the District cannot comment about any of the specifics regarding this case, the District has made a determination not to pursue charges against Mrs. Mehler."

"The District wishes to spare children the experience of being subpoenaed, testifying before a hearing officer, and being subjected to cross-examination by Mrs. Mehler's attorney,'' the statement said. "The District is gratified that the matter has been concluded."

Mehler confirmed a report on this website that effective Sept. 2, she can begin teaching sixth grade social studies at Rye Middle School. She previously taught at Osborn Elementary School.

"I'm so happy to be back,'' Mehler said. "I'm very excited."

Mehler was at the Barnes & Noble store in White Plains, buying books to prepare for next fall, when she returned a call from Daily Voice.

Mehler's Manhattan attorney, Arthur Z. Schwartz, released a statement that said: "The treatment of Carin Mehler -- holding her up to public ridicule, assigning her to a windowless room for a year and 'reassigning' her to work at home for a second year -- was contrary to everything we teach our children about our country."

"We are supposed to give people due process when we deprive them of life, liberty or property,'' Schwartz added. "Carin Mehler begged for due process. She went to court and the District said they would eventually bring charges. But they didn't.They owe her, and the children of Rye who were deprived of her skills, a great big apology."

In May 2013, Mehler was one of four Rye teachers accused of improper coaching of pupils. Two teachers were formally charged; one resigned and the other paid a fine before returning to teach.

During the first year of her "reassignment," Mehler was confined to a room to stack books by grade levels. This past school year, she was told to stay home during school hours to draft fourth-grade lesson plans.

During the 2013-14 school year, Rye City School District spent nearly $273,000 to hire substitutes for the four "reassigned" teachers. By September 2014, the district had settled with three teachers, but not with Mehler.

On June 4, a federal judge dismissed a court case brought by Mehler. The judge said that while Rye City School District did not have sufficient evidence to prove wrongdoing by Mehler, it also did not violate her constitutional rights.

Mehler received her full salary and benefits throughout her reassignment. It is one reason why U.S. District Court Judge Cathy Seibel rejected Mehler's claim that she was deprived of a "protected property interest."

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