Talk of the Sound has confirmed that Donna Henry, a long-time employee of the City School District of New Rochelle, is the security guard at the heart of the “sexting” incident at Albert Leonard Middle School. As first reported by Talk of the Sound, a school security guard at Albert Leonard Middle School obtained a full frontal nude photo of a 7th grade student and transmitted the photo to other employees of the New Rochelle school district.
The District suspended Henry, a school employee with a long history of disciplinary problems that includes assaulting a child, but has since reinstated her. She is now working at a “make-work” security post on the second floor at City Hall in New Rochelle pending reassignment elsewhere.
School Board candidate Deidre Polow was among those briefed on the incident by school officials. According to police records, Polow failed to report the incident to law enforcement as is required for all mandated reporters.
The District Attorney is aware of the allegations against Henry and discussed the matter with representatives of the New Rochelle school district last week. The DA’s office has told Talk of the Sound exclusively that unless the parents of the girl in the photo come forward to press charges it will be up to the school district to file a complaint against Donna Henry.
According to New Rochelle police records, the parents have so far refused to cooperate in the case. The girl has since been pulled out of Albert Leonard Middle School and relocated to a school in New Jersey by her father who is divorced from the girl’s mother. The family originally lived in another part of New Rochelle and attended Isaac E. Young Middle School for 6th grade.
Current and former district employees and students familiar with Donna Henry describe her as a “bully” who has threatened district staff and assaulted a student. In one case at several years ago, Rochelle Lieber-Miller called Child Protective Services to report Henry for assaulting a student at Albert Leonard. Henry was moved to Isaac E. Young Middle School where she subsequently got into a screaming match with Debbie Ferrara, the the school’s officer manager and was moved again. Henry, who has been repeatedly moved from building to building within the District, was moved out of Isaac Young after the incident with Ferrara, ultimately ending up back at Albert Leonard.
According to an incident report dated December 10, 2008, Albert Leonard Middle School Principal Williams Evans contacted the New Rochelle Police Department to report what was described as “possible child pornography”. The report says that an unidentified student at Albert Leonard reported receiving the nude photo from another student. Evans interviewed the student who had sent the photo and confiscated the student’s phone. The detective assigned to the case failed to conduct a full investigation to analyze the image, the hard drive of the confiscated cell phone and the billing records and log files associated with the phone during the period in question. Declaring the case closed, New Rochelle police destroyed evidence in the case and returned the phone to the student, minus the photo.
Talk of the Sound has learned that Donna Henry was also reported to school officials but a search of police records indicates that no report concerning Donna Henry and the nude image was filed by the school district. The New Rochelle School Board, the Superintendent and other senior administrators in the District have known about the Donna Henry sexting incident since January and sought to cover it up. At a January board meeting, District IT Director Christine Coleman made a presentation to the school board on internet safety and, in particular, sexting. Coleman claimed there had not been any incidents of sexting in the New Rochelle school district although Talk of the Sound has learned that the Albert Leonard incident was not the first sexting incident reported to school officials. As reported previously, Albert Leonard Middle School Principal Evans sent home a letter to parents urging them to have a discussion with their children about the dangers of sexting without disclosing the incident.