A New York high school senior allegedly won a bet with four friends to see who could hook up first with their 26-year-old global studies teacher, the New York Post reported.
A video recorded Friday by a Manhattan Theatre Lab High School pupil shows fellow student Eric Arty, 18, kissing a woman on a park bench in lower Manhattan.
Arty denied to the Post that the woman he is seen with at Bleecker Playground in Greenwich Village is teacher Julie Warning.
“Yeah, that’s me. I’m kissing a girl,” Arty told the newspaper when confronted with the photo. “That’s not my teacher that I’m kissing in the picture. It’s just a girl I know.”
Arty refused to say who the woman was.
The teacher also denied the involvement, telling the Post: “He is my student, but I’ve never had a relationship with him or any of my students. That is inappropriate. I think that this is a misunderstanding.”
A spokesperson for the city's school district confirmed to msnbc.com the incident was being looked at.
Laurel Wright-Hinckson, public information officer for the Special Commissioner of Investigation for the New York City School District, told msnbc.com an investigation had just been started, and would take at least a couple of months to complete.
The student who filmed the two kissing said Warning is "the most appealing teacher in the school.”
“She always wore nice skirts, and she had appealing tattoos all over her body,” he told the Post.
Arty and four of his friends each contributed $100 to a pool, the newspaper said. The first to win Warning's affection would win the cash.
Some students told the Post that Warning tried to resist the teenagers’ flirtations at first.
“She would try to avoid it because she was [Arty's] teacher," a student told the paper. "She was a nice teacher and didn’t want to report him, and she would throw him and his friends out of class for trying to flirt with her,” the student said.
According to the Post, Warning was reassigned on Tuesday to an administrative position at the school, which is north of Manhattan's Lincoln Center.
A Department of Education spokesperson told msnbc.com Warning didn't report to her new desk job Wednesday.
It wasn't clear whether Warning reported for her reassignment on Thursday.
Job at stake, but no possible charges
Warning does not have tenure at the school and could lose her job, but she wouldn't face criminal charges because Arty isn't a minor.
The teacher's father, Pete Warning, told the Post this didn't seem like something she would do.
“All of her students, like 85 percent, are gonna pass their Regents for the first time," Peter Warning said, speaking of the standardized tests students take in New York State. "They all love her. My heart’s broken.”
Earlier this week, Mayor Michael Bloomberg, the school chancellor and State Senator Stephen Saland announced new legislation to better protect New York students from inappropriate sexual contact with teachers.
Under current law, outside hearing officers decide on these cases and impose penalties – including whether or not a teacher is fired. The new legislation would make it easier to remove a teacher who is found to have engaged in sexual activity with students.
“If a school employee is found to have engaged in sexual behavior or made sexual comments towards students, the chancellor should have the final say on what action to take and the legislation we are proposing would provide that authority,” Bloomberg said Tuesday in a press release.
“Every child deserves a safe learning environment and every parent has the right to know that his or her child is safe while at school,” he said.
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