School community outraged Bronxdale HS principal still has job

Protestors standing outside Columbus High School on Tuesday, January 10.

John Chase, principal at Bronxdale High School, who was left in his position after being found guilty in December 2011 by the Department of Education to have made “inappropriate sexual comments” to a female employee at the beginning of the 2011 school year, has been ordered to attend sensitivity training by the DOE’s Office of Equal opportunity.

Faculty and local residents, displeased with DOE’s light punishment, voiced their concerns at the Community Board 11 meeting held on Thursday, February 16.

Larry Minetti, Columbus High School teacher and graduate, spoke on behalf of his wife, who was a victim of Chase’s sexual harassment.

“This has been a very hard year, especially for my wife,” Minetti said.

According to Minetti, his wife was hired by Chase during the summer of 2011 to work at Bronxdale High School on the Columbus campus.

Minetti worked at the high school, until she started receiving unwanted sexual comments from Chase while at work.

On September 19, Minetti said he and his wife could no longer take the harassment she was enduring from Chase and decided to make a complaint to the 49th Precinct.

After Chase was found guilty of making the inappropriate comments in December of 2011, hundreds, including Minetti and his wife, protested in front of Christopher Columbus High School on Tuesday, January 10.

The rally, failed to change DOE’s position on the matter.

“We have done all we can do,” Minetti said. “It is a disgrace he is still in the building. He was found guilty, but he is still in the building holding a position. This is an issue that has affected myself and my family.”

Cathy DeLuca, a aecretary for 23 years at the high school, also spoke at the CB 11 meeting.

Deluca said every woman in the building feels uncomfortable around Chase.

“All the females in the building will not get in an elevator with this man,” she said. “We’re scared, and we’re asking Community Board 11 to help us. It is like he got away with it, with just a slap on the wrist. The thought of what he’s done and basically gotten away with really disturbs me.”

In January, the DOE issued a statement in response to the protest held outside of Columbus High School.

“Allegations of sexual harassment were not substantiated,” it said. “The investigation found that principal Chase made inappropriate sexual comments in violation of the chancellor’s regulation. As a result of this investigation, principal Chase will receive a letter to his file, EEO training, and of course we will consider this investigation in any future decisions around tenure.”

Councilman Jimmy Vacca, who attended Columbus High School, and who rallied along side the protestors in January, said he has not heard what the DOE plans to do about the situation.

“It has been well over a month since we rallied outside of Bronxdale High School, and yet, we still have no answers about what the DOE plans to do with principal Chase,” Vacca said.

“Since the school opened its doors for the first time last September, I have received nothing but complaints about his actions. Unless the DOE is totally forthcoming, the atmosphere will continue to be an uncomfortable one, not only for the women who work at the school, but for its students as well. If this school is going to succeed in the future, it needs proper leadership, and it is obvious that john Chase is no the answer,” he added.

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