City of Stamford and Stamford Board of Education Employees Association
A school custodian may not violate rules, if he grabs a student's arm to escort the student to a principal's office. In April 2011, Todd Williams, a school custodian, allegedly observed a high school student entering the teacher's facility and asked the student to refrain from using the teacher's facility in the future. Later that day, Williams observed the same student roaming the halls and slamming fire doors. Williams allegedly asked the student why he was "acting stupid." The student allegedly responded that he was going to punch Williams in the face and kill Williams. Williams grabbed the student's arm and escorted the student to the principal's office. The student claimed that Williams threw the student against the wall and used excessive force. Williams received a two-day suspension, and the union filed a grievance. The city asserted that Williams knew, or should have known, he should refrain from touching the student, unless Williams was in danger, and that he had no right to confront a student and use physical force. The union claimed that Williams was allowed to use reasonable force to protect school property. Tapes of the incident did not indicate inappropriate action or use of unreasonable force. School officials testified that Williams was a good worker who did not act aggressively with students. The majority of arbitrators voted, 2-1, to sustain the grievance and to award the grievant back pay for his suspension. The grievant, wrote the majority, "responded appropriately when he decided to escort the student to the principal's office and did not violate any school rule or regulation by looping his arm around Grievant's arm." Robert Murray represented the municipality, and John Gesmonde represented the union.