New Rochelle Union Calls for Resignation of Superintendent; Protest Planned for Friday

Written By: Robert Cox

NEW ROCHELLE, NY — FUSE President Martin Daly announced soon after a press conference at City Hall to discuss the “reassignment” of New Rochelle High School head football coach Lou DiRienzo, that the FUSE has asked New Rochelle Schools Superintendent Dr. Laura Feijóo to resign.

Daly said the union was considering legal action.

“FUSE is consulting with the NYSUT Office of Counsel on how best to proceed with all further responses to your unprecedented actions,” wrote Daly.

In a letter to union members, Daly asked all FUSE members to wear FUSE shirts and/or colors on Friday, November 15.  

“We believe that in this time of the assault on member rights, we must stand united against the erosion of our due process rights,” said Daly, inviting union members and their supporters to a peaceful protest in front of City Hall at 4:00 p.m. Friday

Calling her decision to issue public statements regarding the “reassignment” of  two teachers in the City School District “a complete lack of judgement”, Daly said Feijóo had short circuited these teachers’ due process rights and besmirched their reputations as educators in the District.

“Claiming ‘transparency,’ you sent public emails defaming teachers’ characters by hinting at malfeasance without any actual mention of wrongdoing, then ominously stated you can’t share further details due to privacy rights. This is the equivalent of falsely crying fire in a crowded movie theatre and then using free speech as your defense,” said Daly.

Sources tell Talk of the Sound that Feijóo did not meet with DiRienzo prior to sending out an open letter to the school community on Wednesday night.

“You undermined the teachers’ rights to due process by communicating to the entire New Rochelle community before the members in question even had the opportunity to meet with district administration,” wrote Daly. “These emails tarnished the teachers’ reputations and will undermine their ability to return to work once the issues have been resolved.”

Daly portrayed her actions as “union busting assaults on due process rights”.

“New Rochelle staff, families, larger community and especially our students deserve better,” said Daly.

New Rochelle Board of Education President Amy Moselhi issued the following statement in response to FUSE President Marty Daly

City School District of New Rochelle staff,

I am writing to you in response to Mr. Daly’s message calling for Dr. Feijóo’s resignation.

Mr. Daly’s attempt to have Dr. Feijóo resign is acknowledged and thoroughly rejected by the Board of Education. We support and stand behind the actions taken by our superintendent of schools, Dr. Feijóo.

Reassigning a staff member while an investigation is ongoing is warranted, appropriate and in line with the way any school district would conduct itself to ensure that it is engaging in due diligence. We understand and appreciate how much people look up to Coach DiRienzo and the positive impact he has on students’ lives. The foregoing, however, cannot and will not deter the District from fulfilling its ethical and legal obligations.

FUSE President Marty Daly issued the following statement in response to New Rochelle Board of Education President Amy Moselhi Response to FUSE President Marty Daly’s Statement

Another day, another open letter!

This is my response to Board President Amy Mosehli’s letter to staff yesterday.

In her letter, Ms. Mosehli focused on the district’s decision to reassign Coach DiRenzo during an ongoing investigation.  In this, Ms. Mosheli seems to miss the point of my objection — it was not the “reassignment” of Mr. DiRenzo (or the other employee whom she never mentions),  but the fact that the district shared the names of these two employees with the entire New Rochelle Community, thus short-circuiting their due process rights and smearing their reputations to the public.

Dear Ms. Mosehli:

While we are sure that the actions of Dr. Feijoo were taken with your approval, we wish to clarify what the FUSE concerns are with the actions she took and with any approval you gave to those actions.  

The union is not disputing the right of the district to investigate the actions of staff members. Nor are we disputing the right of the district to engage in due diligence regarding any alleged infractions, and we are not disputing the right of district to determine the consequences to a teacher if misdeeds are discovered.

What we are disputing is the use of a public forum to smear the reputation of school employees before having done that due diligence. 

Never have the names of employees who have been accused of wrongdoing been released to the public. Not only is this unprecedented in New Rochelle, but these actions are unprecedented in school districts throughout the state. Letters such as the ones emailed to the entire community are generally reserved to serious — usually illegal– violations that involve children  — and that was certainly not the case in either of the emails sent out Wednesday. 

Neither the superintendent, nor presumably the Board and their attorneys, have considered the permanent negative impact upon individuals by publicizing names in advance of due process. 

Without having done due diligence, without considering the nature of the claims, teachers have had their names smeared in the public eye. You refuse to state the reasons for the investigation asserting individuals’ privacy rights, and thus, the public is left to fill in the blanks. This becomes trial by innuendo, speculation, half truths, hearsay, and rumor.

The outcome of most investigations can never be made public because of those privacy rights. Whether the investigation results in disciplinary action or a member is completely vindicated, the public will never know the specific accusations, charges  or outcome.  As a result, the employees’ reputations are forever smeared.  Personnel files are legally mandated to be private for this very reason.  Ironically, if the investigation was for a more serious, criminal manner, everything would be published at the end of the investigation and everyone would know what occurred.

The long standing collaborative and positive relationship that has existed between the union and the school district for many years has been greatly damaged by this action. 

Sincerely, 

Martin Daly 

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