John F. Kennedy teacher removed and facing trial for sex acts with a child
(Page 2 of 2)
By Sarina Trangle
JFK Principal Lisa Luft described the arrest as “distressing,” but said there was no indication Mr. Gibbons engaged in inappropriate behavior at JFK. She said the school “tackled” related concerns and is now “pretty normal.”
“We’re working with central [DOE offices] and taking it one step at a time. Although the students are distressed, most of them liked him as a teacher. We have supported their issues and their needs,” she said.
Guidance counselors have invited students to discuss the allegations. Most lead teachers in the five classes Mr. Gibbons co-taught have been teaching alone. Substitutes have been assigned to some of his classes, Ms. Luft said.
Sarah Garcia and two other JFK students described Mr. Gibbons as a teacher who encouraged students to stay on task.
“He tried to make us work. He’d be like, ‘Why aren’t you working?” said Sarah, a sophomore. “He seemed normal, so I wouldn’t expect that from one of my teachers who helped me with my work everyday.”
As for Mr. Gibbons’ past, Ms. Luft said he was hired “way before” she started at JFK and that her job is to support teachers, not judge them.
While the DOE argues the state legislation would prevent teachers like Mr. Gibbons from racking up multiple accusations of sexual misconduct, the teachers union says the bill goes too far.
The United Federation of Teachers released a statement saying that the legislation would give the chancellor “the power to ignore the evidence.”
“This proposed legislation would allow the chancellor to unilaterally find an employee guilty of sexual misconduct even though an independent hearing officer who has weighed all the evidence has determined otherwise,” the statement read. “The UFT believes in zero tolerance on the issue of sexual misconduct with children. That’s why our contract already includes the toughest penalty in the state — automatic termination — for any teacher found guilty of this offense.”