Staff outraged as Bronxdale High School principal stays on after “inappropriate sexual comments”

Faculty and staff at the Christopher Columbus Educational Campus are outraged by a recent decision on a sexual complaint.

As one of two new schools on a campus now holding seven different high schools, the Bronxdale High School has been a hot topic since its inaugural academic year began in September under the leadership of principal John Chase.

Chase, a former science teacher from Oneonta, allegedly made sexually-fixated statements to three female employees at the beginning of the school year. Two of the women requested a transfer out of their positions as secretaries of the school.

After an investigation by DOE’s Office of Equal Opportunity, a Tuesday, December 6 decision confirmed that Chase made the sexual remark to one of the women, but categorized them as inappropriate sexual comments rather than sexually harassing. As punishment, Chase will have to ‘undergo sensitivity training.’ The other charges are still under review.

“I find it unbelievable that the DOE is actually continuing to let this man (Chase) work at the school with all of this controversy,” said an employee of the educational campus. “These women have been scared by what has been said to them. This is an unsafe work environment because of this man and it’s obvious DOE does not care what is happening.”

According to the source, the campus has become a terrible work environment, not only because of the allegations against Chase, but because of the phasing out of Christopher Columbus High School and the lack of experience by the principals of the newer high schools.

Councilman Jimmy Vacca was aware of the situation at Bronxdale High School, but was shocked when he learned that DOE would not be removing Chase from his position. After meeting several staff members at the school, Vacca said DOE has made a terrible decision and that something must be done immediately.

“DOE owes us an explanation. How can DOE open a new school and within weeks have its principal charged with sexual harassment, find that individual guilty as charged and then leave him in place?” Vacca asked. “To now have females in the building placed in such an uncomfortable atmosphere makes us wonder if DOE will allow this situation to fester.”

Another employee, who has been working at the campus for over 20 years, said that faculty and other staff members of the entire school, as well as members of the National Organization of Women, have announced a rally that will take place in front of the campus at 925 Astor Avenue on Tuesday, January 10.

“We are making sure that DOE is aware that the entire faculty at the campus has not accepted their decisions,” she said. “We will fight until the proper action is made.”

Reach Vito Signorile via e-mail at vsignorile@cnglocal.com or by phone at (718) 742-3383.

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