An ex-Manhattan teacher who asked students to rub lotion on her legs and comb her hair is suing the Department of Education so she can get another job.
Monica Johnson claims she has overcome personal issues that led to the unusual classroom activities, and needs to be cleared to work for a school vendor.
Johnson, who taught the fifth grade, was pulled out of Public School 123 in 2006 following an array of accusations.
In one instance, she called a student “a liar and a thief” and threw an object across the room, according to papers. In 2004 and 2005, she received formal warnings over allegations of corporal punishment of students.
But that wasn’t all.
“You instructed students to massage lotion on your legs and feet, and to comb your hair during instructional time,” the Department of Education wrote in a letter.
She was officially fired in 2008 from her job that paid $57,370 a year.
The ouster came back to haunt the 49-year-old educator last year, when she was offered a job as an after-school site manager for the social services organization University Settlement.
The job offer was rescinded after University Settlement — a Department of Education vendor — learned the reason for Johnson’s firing, court papers indicate.
At the time she got in trouble, Johnson said she had been misdiagnosed with cancer, had endured a nasty custody battle and was homeless.
Johnson, who is representing herself in the case, said she now knows that “professionalism is a non-negotiable” and wants a second chance.
Ms. Johnson’s behavior was inappropriate and completely unacceptable, and she is no longer eligible to work in our schools,” an Education Department spokesman said.