NEW YORK – A Manhattan high school teacher is under investigation after a shocking photograph allegedly shows her kissing a student.
The picture, which was published in the New York Post, shows a happy couple cuddling on a park bench.
The problem is that the woman is believed to be 26-year-old Julie Warning, a global studies teacher at Manhattan Theater Lab High School, and the person she’s kissing is allegedly her 18-year-old student.
“I think it’s disturbing, something that a teacher shouldn’t do,” junior Stephanie Batista said.
“That’s ridiculous,” senior Brittany Johnson said. “It’s not professional. It shouldn’t be going on.”
Some classmates said they’ve heard rumors floating around the hallways but all are stunned to see the picture, which was apparently taken by a fellow student who spotted the two in Greenwich Village, according to the Post.
Warning started working for the Department of Education in 2010 and quickly became popular with students — many of whom are now defending her.
“We don’t believe she would do that,” sophomore Monte Barronette said. “We all love her. She’s our favorite teacher, so we don’t believe it’s true.”
The DOE said it has referred the case to the Special Commissioner of Investigations and in the meantime, Warning has been reassigned to administrative duty.
She is just the latest in a string of nearly a dozen city school teachers who now stand accused of sexual misconduct with students.
The latest black mark for the DOE comes as Chancellor Dennis Walcott and Mayor Michael Bloomberg push for more control over how these types of cases are handled.
“What we’ve been proposing with new legislation is that final decision shouldn’t rest with an arbitrator,” Walcott said. “Really the chancellor in these types of cases should be the one to make that final determination but just because a student is 18 or 19 doesn’t make a difference at all.”
From a criminal viewpoint it does make a difference because the student is not a minor, so Warning can’t be criminally charged.
However, the DOE can take disciplinary action if it finds its policy against student-teacher relationships was violated.
Both Warning and the student have publicly denied that she is the person in the picture.