A Wayne Township gym and health teacher's appeal of tenure charges filed against him has been denied by an arbitrator for the New Jersey Department of Education, who has ordered the educator removed from his position for bullying students.

Thomas Starke, Getty Images

Howard Smith, who was employed at George Washington Middle School but had taught both middle and high school classes in the township dating back to 1997, apparently had a clean record until 2015, according to a report by NJ Advance Media.

It was in February of that year, however, as detailed in arbitrator Joel Weisblatt's decision, that Smith was accused of engaging in a locker room confrontation with a student at Wayne Valley High School that became physical in nature. A part of the encounter that happened outside the locker room was captured on video surveillance, Weisblatt said.

The arbitrator said Smith was suspended without pay, stripped of coaching responsibilities, and ordered to undergo anger management training following that incident. But four other occurrences in an eighth-grade health class during the 2015-2016 school year were, according to the state, a heavy enough burden of proof to terminate the teacher:

  • Smith admitted telling a student, "I take s--ts bigger than you."
  • In response to a question from a male student about vaginal discharge, Smith allegedly responded that the student should have known what it is because he had it, implying that the student was female and had a sexually transmitted disease.
  • While showing a video on anorexia in which a woman removed her sweatshirt to show the effects of that disease, Smith was accused of telling another male student that he would never get closer to a naked woman.
  • Smith was also accused of recommending that a 14-year-old female student take birth control pills, which the state said caused the girl to believe the teacher was insinuating she was sexually promiscuous.

Smith had attempted to disprove the state's case, as the NJ Advance Media article stated, but Wayne Township schools accepted the state's ruling at a meeting earlier this month.

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