The worst teacher in New Jersey has had his dismissal upheld by the courts, after he spent nearly a decade subjecting female students and teachers to his own peculiar and degrading brand of unrelenting sexual harassment.
James Lang, a veteran middle school teacher who taught in Woodbridge, New Jersey, was suspended without pay from his job just over a year and a half ago, after almost 10 years of sordid history at the school district.
A news report from The Daily Record enumerated some of the astounding accusations against Lang:
- Making unwanted advances at a female teacher, telling her that he wished she was Lady Gaga so that he could watch her “hook up” with another female teacher.
- A girl who sought help improving her grades allegedly was told by Lang that she would be “better off working the streets.”
- Calling a student “Jo-Jo the Ho-Ho” and a “dirty ho,” slang terms for a prostitute.
- Calling a student a whore and suggesting that she wear less clothing on dress-down day.
- Telling a female student who bent over to pick up a paper that he would “tap that.”
- Asking students during class whether they would be afraid if his “snake were in their bed.”
- Saying that a female student’s “mouth was fast and on the weekends it runs extra fast.”
- Telling his class that he used to watch students shower at a former job at a community center.
- Telling students that his supervisor, who now is principal of Woodbine Avenue School No. 23, had a bladder problem and that he saw her “out drinking and dancing.”
- Referring to a girl as “13 and pregnant”
- Telling a French teacher that he wanted to see her in a bathing suit and kiss another teacher.
- Making “numerous unwanted advances,” including sending Facebook friend requests and repeatedly asking the teacher to go dancing. (source)
Lang was hired back in 2003, and worked at three different middle schools in the Woodbridge Township School District: Colonia, Woodbridge and Fords middle schools. The most appalling part of this is that the accusations of inappropriate language began that first school year, 2003-2004. Despite the complaints, his performance reviews were somehow consistently positive.
This means that school officials were aware that this behavior was occurring, and yet they did nothing definitive. Young girls were subjected to this demeaning treatment in an educational institution for almost a decade, while those charged with their care did nothing to protect them. Young boys watched this behavior occur and saw that it went unpunished. It sends the message that the behavior is acceptable. It says, if you’re a female, deal with it, and if you’re a male, you can act like this and get away with it.
Because Lang was tenured, he was entitled to a review of his termination. Judge Tiffany M. Williams presided and upheld the termination, saying that Lang “violated all standards of decency” and “contributed to a sexually demeaning environment” with his “grotesque and sexual” behavior.” She wrote, “He is not fit to lead in an educational institution among moldable young minds.”
Lang’s attorney, Edward Cridge of Princeton firm Wills O’Neill & Mellk, says that the decision will be appealed.
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