Teacher Punished for Taking Grieving Student Off Campus for Hot Cocoa - NBC New York

Teacher Punished for Taking Grieving Student Off Campus for Hot Cocoa

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    Janice Graf has been removed from her classroom at Center Moriches High School while school officials investigate. Greg Cergol reports. (Published Thursday, Feb. 11, 2016)

    A high school art teacher comforting a grieving student is being disciplined for taking her off campus for a hot cocoa.

    Janice Graf, who has taught art for 30 years on Long Island, is now barred from her classroom at Center Moriches High School for her act of kindness.

    "I was helping a student, helping a child," she told NBC 4 New York.

    Graf accompanied Maddy Ziminski, a senior who was trying to deal with the deaths of two friends, to a nearby convenience store. The problem: students aren't allowed to leave the campus during school hours.

    "I couldn't stop crying," Ziminski said. "I was just there trying to cope with everything."

    School officials placed Graf on administrative duty while they review the circumstances of the rules violation. They didn't return several requests for comment.

    Ziminski and her mother have asked school officials to allow Graf to return to the classroom.

    "She got my daughter back to school and she took care of my daughter," Joanne Ziminski said. "Now they're trying to ruin her reputation, which is really bad."

    Graf would like to return to the classroom before the end of the school year, when she plans to retire. 

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