WILKES-BARRE — The Dallas School District is appealing the decision of an arbitrator who determined that a teacher fired for allegedly lying about inappropriate comments to students should be reinstated.
Scott Zedar, a technology education teacher at the high school, was fired in early 2017 after information came to light that he left another school district after allegations of sexual remarks to children, according to a petition filed by Dallas solicitor Vito DeLuca.
Last month, arbitrator Debra K. Wallet determined Zedar should be reinstated and receive backpay for the time he had been out of work.
Dallas, though, is asking for that determination to be vacated.
According to the petition, Zedar was hired in 2012.
In 2016, Superintendent Thomas Duffy learned Zedar’s previous school district, Wyoming Valley West, had refused to sign off on his moral character.
Duffy contacted David Tosh, director of elementary and secondary education at Wyoming Valley West, who was the principal of the district’s high school during Zedar’s employment there.
In January 2017, Tosh and Duffy met along with Wyoming Valley West’s solicitor to discuss the issues. The petition says Duffy learned of “extreme allegations with very great detail involving what would be construed as inappropriate Comments (sic) to students.”
Duffy learned Zedar resigned from his position at Wyoming Valley West in April 2009, when the investigation into the allegations was active. The petition says he negotiated a separation agreement through the teachers union that gave him two-and-a-half months of health benefits and allowed him to cash out his unused time off.
The petition also says Wyoming Valley West agreed to not oppose Zedar’s claims for unemployment benefits and to write him a neutral letter of reference and not make a grievance against him to the Department of Education.
When applying to the Dallas School District, the petition says, Zedar indicated he had not quit any jobs in the past 10 years after learning he would be fired. According to the school district, this indicates Zedar was not truthful on his application, making his termination legitimate.
“The arbitrator’s award poses an unacceptable risk that it will undermine the well-defined and clearly established policy of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania relating to child abuse reporting and investigation and cause Dallas School District to breach its lawful obligations regarding investigation and reporting of child abuse given the particular circumstances at hand and the factual findings of the arbitrator,” the petition states.
Reach Patrick Kernan at 570-991-6386 or on Twitter @PatKernan