Heroin-toting New York teacher appeals firing

| Thursday, Sept. 19, 2013, 9:09 p.m.

NEW YORK — A high school teacher who was fired this year for showing up for jury duty with 20 glassine envelopes of heroin stashed in a pack of cigarettes could get his job back.

A judge found that Damian Esteban's firing was “unduly harsh” and ordered the Department of Education to impose a lesser punishment. City officials blasted the decision on Thursday, saying they would appeal.

“We cannot fathom how a teacher who took 20 bags of heroin into a courthouse is fit to stand in front of a classroom and teach the city's school children,” Michael A. Cardozo, the city's top lawyer, said in a statement.

Mayor Michael Bloomberg added that the ruling “shows a callous indifference to the well-being of our students.”

Esteban's case will remain unresolved while the city pursues an appeal. There was no immediate response to a message left Thursday with his attorney.

Esteban's troubles began last year when he was returning to a Manhattan courthouse after taking a break as a juror in a murder trial. While he passed through security, courthouse officers discovered the heroin packets.

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