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updated: 10/7/2014 5:33 AM

Retirement approved for controversial Batavia teacher

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  • John Dryden

    John Dryden

 
 

The Batavia school board Monday approved the sudden retirement of high school social studies teacher John Dryden, who was disciplined in 2013 after advising students about the right to not incriminate themselves before distributing a survey about behavior.

Dryden notified his union representative Oct. 1 that he wanted to retire; it was his last day in the classroom. Friday, he filed retirement papers with the district.

"That action really caught myself and the administration by surprise," said Steve Pearce, assistant superintendent of human resources.

The retirement takes effect Oct. 31. Until then, Dryden is on administrative leave.

Dryden turns 55 on Oct. 25.

Dryden did not attend the special school board meeting. He declined to comment, saying he prefers to wait until the retirement takes effect.

Pearce said the union representative gave no specific reason for Dryden's retirement.

"We are wishing Mr. Dryden well and are thanking him for his 22 years of public service in the Batavia public schools," Pearce said.

In May 2013, the school board disciplined Dryden. School officials said he inappropriately gave legal advice to students when he advised them they had a constitutional right against self-incrimination. Students' names were on the surveys, so district officials could contact those whose answers were troubling.

He was required thereafter to refrain from giving students legal advice; to repeat back to his supervisors work-related directives and tell the supervisor he agreed to obey them; and was not to involve students in his personnel issues, "through conversation or otherwise."

Dryden had previously been reprimanded for comments he made to students that the board deemed insensitive or inappropriate.

Besides the issue of incrimination, Dryden said at the time he was concerned about the data collection because a private firm was compiling the survey results and storing the information.

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