Why N.J. Still Needs Tenure Reform

"Two Mount Olive High School teachers, initially fired in 2013 after allegedly calling students "Negroes," have been allowed to return to work and keep their tenure, but will lose 10 months' pay."
That's courtesy of the NJ Advance Media, that reports that the two gym teachers, who have taught for almost 30 years, were originally fired by the State Commissioner David Hespe after the school board brought tenure charges, but his judgement was overruled by a state appeals court.

The court returned the case to Comm. Hespe after finding that the  two women were guilty of "conduct unbecoming" a teacher,  but that the penalty of firing, with removal of tenure, was "too harsh." Also, explained the court, the teachers were most likely unaware that students were around when they made racist remarks. Therefore, Hespe was forced to reduce the charges and reinstate their tenure. The two teachers' attorney estimated that they are owed back pay of $200,000.

The teachers have hired another attorney to sue the board for age discrimination.

Here's the description of the incident that led to the overturned loss of tenure:
In the appeals court's ruling, the court said that due to the configuration of the locker room, the teachers could not see the students and had no reason to believe anyone else was present. 
According to one of the girls, the teachers were "yelling really loud," with Jones saying, "These Negroes, they think they're (expletive) tough (expletive)." 
Geiger allegedly responded, "Yeah, that's what they are. They're (expletive) Negroes, Negroes, Negroes." 
The teachers denied making the racial remarks. 
In its decision, the court said the punishment given the teachers was far more severe than those given to other teachers in similar situations.