Teacher Aryeh Eller Earned Nearly $1 Million In 'Rubber Room'

In most offices, if a worker repeatedly made sexual remarks and grabbed young females who were under his authority, he'd probably be terminated in a hurry. But in the case of Aryeh Eller, 46, a former music teacher at a public high school in the Queens section of New York City, the result has been a bounty of nearly $1 million over 13 years -- plus benefits.

The generous protection, which was first reported on by the New York Post, has been caused by the city's "rubber room" policy. Under this policy, if a teacher is accused of wrongdoing, he or she is kept in limbo status, out of the classroom and sometimes in a holding room, until the investigation is concluded. According to the Post, Eller, is the city's longest serving rubber room teacher. The music teacher was suspended in 1999, a year after he began working full-time and students started complaining about his conduct.

But a hearing officer, who decides whether tenured teachers can be fired, ruled that the city couldn't fire him because he wasn't properly informed of his rights. The Department of Education, determining that Eller was not fit for the classroom, has kept him in a "rubber room."

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During the Department of Education's investigation, Eller reportedly confessed to allegations from students that included the following:
  • Telling a student that "age doesn't matter" after admitting that he had a "crush" on her. He also told her she was "well-developed" and that she would make a "good wife."
  • Turning off the lights during class and then touching a student's shoulders.
  • Complementing a student's "nice a**," after asking her to lift her shirt.
After the hearing officer ruled that Eller couldn't be fired, the Department of Education decides to put him in the rubber room category indefinitely. He reports to an office in Queens to collect his salary, which currently stands at $85,000 a year. (He's collected $943,000 while being in the rubber room category.) He contributes to the school system by answering phones and doing paperwork.

Eller's brother has come to his defense. In speaking to the Post, Ayton Eller, said that his brother is diagnosed as suffering from bipolar disorder, and that he has a "history of mental issues," but "he's stable now because of the medicine." He also says that his brother is a "genius" and a trained classical guitarrist who performs in local concerts. He says that he's never left the school system for other work because of his two children. (He's divorced from his wife.)

Regardless of their reasons, teachers in the New York school system who have been assigned to the "rubber room" have been known to stick it out until retirement, despite the allegations of misconduct that hang over them.

Of course, some New York city schoolteachers are more accepting than others. As was reported by AOL Jobs last year, technology teacher Francesco Portelos posted a live stream of his banishment to a "rubber room" after he butted heads with administrators at Intermediate School 49 on Staten Island. (He had accused officials of engaging in "financial misconduct.")

While posting the images of his time there, Portelos held up a sign that read, "I'd rather teach." And speaking to the camera, he noted, "I'm getting paid $75,000 to sit around." (As of two months ago, Portelos was reported to still be in the rubber room, according to the Vice website.)


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ANICK

Cant be a black person. They fire them so fast and for almost anything. Partly because in the USA legal system the 12 jurors would convict a bowling ball, if its black. Cops force criminals to confess by telling black suspect that the jury would convict the black of anything the cop tells them. It happens to be true. then they get confused when the race is the same as theirs and the case ends up like this. Seriously change the teachers race to black and the verdict changes that fast. Pay him 1 millions dollars after 1 full year of teaching and for sexual charges Tenure for 1 year, omg. Black people been in this country for over 400 years and dont have TENURE yet.

February 03 2013 at 5:06 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
greenliks

in my school district teachers make double or more the 85K this bozo is raping in....just add in their rediculous benefits and retirement package....small wonder that nearly 88% of our local taxes goes to teaching expenses! why the hell should it cost over $20,000 a year to educate a student who spends only 1200 hours a year in school? by the way there are 8760 hours in a year..go figure!

January 31 2013 at 4:08 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
JZ

This is typical of how our country is run and the politics in our nation. And our federal legislators want taxpayers to pay more taxes for nationally-regulated education? They will not be any better. New York has shown itself to be so corrupt and DC is up there with them.

January 31 2013 at 2:41 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
joevanvactor

Sad situation and they constantly want more money for education. There should be no unions in public jobs. He should be in jail for his sexual advaces.

January 31 2013 at 2:20 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
ROBERT W SELF

That is what unions are doing to this country, I think teachers in this category should only be allowed to teach union members kids.

January 31 2013 at 2:06 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Jennifer

Well, if they didn't follow the rules...it is their fault.

January 31 2013 at 2:01 PM Report abuse -1 rate up rate down Reply
Big Bobzilla

And these morons are in charge of educating children. It would seem they lack common sense and any other kind, too.

January 31 2013 at 2:00 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to Big Bobzilla's comment
ROBERT W SELF

Don't blame the teacher, it's the unions fault.

January 31 2013 at 2:07 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
3 replies to ROBERT W SELF's comment
AL-Concetta

What do expect from NY look who is runing the city and the state.

January 31 2013 at 2:00 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
charles000

Teacher's unions, aren't they marvelous to behold? I especially liked the part of this story (as if it's the only example thereof), that there are no plans to change any of the policies that could make such a ridiculous situation possible.

Oh, but I forgot, the unions are major political campaign contributors. Hmmm . . . you don't suppose there could be any connection there? Gosh darn . . . really???

January 31 2013 at 1:43 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
cskirk

Just more BS caused by unions. There is no justification to keep wasting money like this although I am sure the union thinks its justified. Any wonder why unions are seen as a relic from the past? Ridiculous.

January 31 2013 at 1:43 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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