New Hartford Schools Still Managing Alleged Sexual Harassment
The New Hartford Senior High School is entangled in possible sexual harassment cases involving teachers and students and the superintendent off schools says there's a zero tolerance policy.
Superintendent Coz Tangora, in a letter to parents and students, assured the public that the school was acting swiftly in dealing with accusations, investigations and resolutions. Tangora revealed that an upcoming forum will allow for students to meet individually with the school's attorney to discuss the district's zero tolerance of sexual harassment, and possible violations and accusations.
In an Observer Dispatch story from March, New Hartford High School history teacher Jeff Walters (J.F. Walters) was placed at the center of an inappropriate touching accusation after the family of a female student, a junior at the school, said he inappropriately reached into her jeans pocket as she and two other students were inquiring about membership in a school club. The family told the OD that they have filed a notice of claim against the school, Walters, the school principal, and a social worker, because they believe the matter was handled improperly.
Meanwhile, Oneida County District Attorney Scott McNamara told WIBX in March that the case did reach his office and it was investigated. He said it was presented before an Oneida County Grand Jury. That Grand Jury, he said decided not to proceed with the case, concluding that nothing criminal had occurred. Thus, Walters was not indicted. McNamara added that he was not sure who reported the case. He said that despite the fact that the Grand Jury found nothing that reached a level of criminality, the decision does not rule out possible wrongdoing by Walters within a school setting.
New Hartford Central School District Superintendent, Dr. Cosimo Tangorra, told WIBX that without being specific, he feels the case was properly adjudicated. He added that if there are any additional cases of inappropriate behavior, they should be reported directly to him and an independent investigation will be conducted.
It was also learned that there are accusations that have been made against other New Hartford School teachers and those cases are being investigated.
Tangora said that if parents or teachers have questions or additional concerns, they should reach out to his office to schedule an appointment. "If you have any questions or concerns, do not hesitate to reach out," Tangora said.