Sue Edelman has a piece in the NY Post that shows that nothing is changing when it comes to sexual harassment complaints at the Department of Education. The DOE defends principals, not teachers.
After a Lower East Side high school principal was accused of sexually pressing his groin against a teacher’s leg at a staff holiday party, a Department of Education lawyer asked witnesses for help “to prepare a defense,” records show.
John Colin, a special-ed teacher at the Lower Manhattan Arts Academy, filed a sex-discrimination complaint with the state Division of Human Rights against his boss, Principal Derek Premo.
Premo approached Colin and two female teachers at Pianos, a Lower East Side tavern where the Dec. 19., 2019, gathering took place.
Premo pressed his groin against Colin’s leg, under the bar-height table — and kept it there during the entire 20-minute conversation, the complaint states.
“It was very uncomfortable because I could feel his penis on my leg, and he was leaning his face very close to mine. . . VERY uncomfortable, ” Colin stated.
“Then he started telling me about how he and his husband liked to have parties,” Colin wrote, adding that Premo emphasized the word “parties” and was “looking directly into my eyes when he said it.”
Colin named the two fellow teachers as witnesses, saying he discussed the incident with them the next day.
He put off filing a complaint during the pandemic, when he worked remotely, but did so this year after uneasy feelings resurfaced during a sex-harassment seminar.
Weeks later, DOE lawyer Sari Goldmeer Rella wrote a letter to both witnesses citing the complaint, and saying she needed assistance “to prepare a defense.” She asked them to call her.
In the letter, reviewed by The Post, Rella also told them not to discuss the matter with Colin, and added, “If you are contacted by anyone from the (State Division of Human Rights) do not discuss the case and refer that individual to me.”
That raised the eyebrows of Brooklyn College and CUNY Grad School education professor David Bloomfield.
“It appears they’re inappropriately using their supervisory authority over the witnesses to suppress evidence in the state investigation,” he said. “They can’t keep an employee from speaking to an investigating authority. They’re apparently using their leverage over the teachers to protect themselves.”
You can read the DOE spin if you like. To me it's same old DOE. Teachers last, always.