Not OK: This teacher lost his job for rinsing his mouth with Listerine

Steven Sloan is one extraordinary P.E. teacher. Born with macular degeneration, the 60-year-old coach is blind, and identifies his students by the sounds of their voices. In 2006, actor Tony Danza nominated Steven to carry a torch in the Olympics in Italy. His co-workers at PS 102 in Harlem, New York deeply respect him and comment on how often he goes above and beyond, volunteering to help out at lunch or to chaperone field trips.

However, one parent’s complaint is costing Mr. Sloan his job. Last year, when setting up for a fundraising event, a mother of one of the student’s claimed she smelled alcohol on the gym teacher’s breath. She even went so far as to dig through the trashcan in his office, producing a Styrofoam cup. Though she never witnessed him drinking, or really had any physical evidence of him drinking, this mother went to the Department of Education.

Steven Sloan insists that if she got a whiff of anything alcoholic, it was mouthwash. Even his fellow teachers attest that he was noticeably hygienic and could often be found rinsing his mouth out with Original Listerine, which has a 26.9 percent alcohol content.

Despite Steven and his co-workers’ testimonies, the Department of Education asked the P.E. teacher to retire. He’s understandably devastated.

The New York Post reported that he testified at a hearing that he would never put his beloved job in danger for a drink. “I cherish my job,” he said “Ain’t nothing for me to do but to teach physical education and work with my children. So why, after 30 years, would I risk or jeopardize that?”

Steven told the Post that he would rather retire than have a bad record, but the entire situation feels incredibly unjust. “They didn’t even let me go back to my school and say goodbye,” he said. “I just want to let everybody know I did my job diligently, with all my heart and soul.”

(Image via Shutterstock.)