NEW ROCHELLE, NY — Isaac E. Young Middle School Teacher Eric Luczkowski will not face charges following a two month investigation into unsustained allegations made by a student.
New Rochelle Police Captain Cosmo Costa told Talk of the Sound earlier today that the case was closed; the Westchester County District Attorney’s Office was not filing charges.
Despite being cleared by the police and the DA, Luczkowski has yet to be reinstated by the City School District of New Rochelle.
Under first-year Superintendent Dr. Laura Feijóo it has become the new District policy to publicly announce the “reassignment” of District employees prior to initiating an investigation into allegations. She has yet to explain how the policy works in reverse.
The term “reassignment” amounts to suspension with pay.
At a press conference on the reassignment of former head football coach Lou DiRienzo on November 14th, Feijóo was asked about “due process” for employees by Tony Aiello of Channel 2 News whose children have attended New Rochelle schools.
“You named someone who allegedly did something before you determined whether what this person allegedly did he actually did,” said Aiello who then asked about due process.
Feijóo responded by portraying “reassignment” as a finding of guilt in and of itself.
“When you are in a circumstance where you are reassigning someone that’s a significant piece of information that should be shared with the community…just the reassignment makes it serious…it wasn’t actually the only one,” she said referring to Luczkowski. “Reassignment is very significant to me.”
“If it escalates to reassignment I think it only fair the community be aware,” she later added.
The District’s union leadership took issue with Feijóo’s failure to address the impact of her new policy on the reputation of employees when the allegations are later not sustained or determined to be false. The dispute led to week’s of public demonstrations and a call for her resignation.
“While happy to hear the investigation is closed without charges, this is exactly why our members rallied and protested,” said FUSE President Martin Daly. “The District’s new practice, to make public the name of a member facing a mere allegation of misconduct, but without having conducted an investigation, has hurt our colleague’s good name and irreparably harmed his reputation.
“These welcome developments prove our point: releasing names of accused staff members to the public prior to investigating the facts under the guise of “transparency” short circuits due process and leads to a trial by innuendo and speculation, said Daly.
“Now that this teacher has been cleared of wrongdoing, what office does he go to to get his reputation back?”
To Daly’s point, Dr. Feijóo sent out a public statement about Luczkowski’s “reassignment” on November 13th but school officials did contact police until November 14th.
On November 13th, Feijóo sent an open letter:
“As some of you may already be aware, Mr. Luczkowski, a teacher at Isaac E. Young Middle School, has recently been absent from the classroom. I am writing to advise you that we anticipate that his absence will continue for the foreseeable future.”
Feijóo said at the time, “any and all subsequent updates will be shared with the Isaac E. Young Middle School community. We will continue to provide as much information as possible to ensure that IEYMS families are fully informed of the situation particularly as it relates to the educational experiences of their children.”
The City School District of New Rochelle did not respond to a request for an update on Luczkowski’s employment status and has yet to notify the Isaac E. Young school community that Luczkowski was cleared of the allegations or when he will return to work.
On November 14th, the following day, the same day as Feijóo’s press conference, Isaac E. Young Principal Tawanda Robinson contacted the New Rochelle Police Department to report that a student had alleged that a teacher inappropriately touched her leg while at school on Oct. 31, 2019, according to Deputy Commissioner Robert Gazzola.
School officials declined to comment for this story.