The principal of a Long Island City high school was booted after investigators found she made discriminatory remarks, rigged her school’s parent surveys and hid a student who brought a knife to school from the police, according to city Department of Education documents.
Nancy Casella, a Forest Hills resident who headed Information Technology High School, at 21-16 44th Road, handed in her resignation Oct. 9. The DOE’s office of equal opportunity and its office of special investigations both released reports in 2011 alleging misconduct on the part of Casella. The principal, who had tenure, was making $152,149 a year.
Casella, who is in her 50s, could not be reached for comment.
An August 2011 report from the equal opportunity office said multiple co-workers of Casella claimed the principal made remarks that were racist, anti-Semitic, homophobic or sexually inappropriate. In one instance, a co-worker said Casella once turned off a recording device during a school cabinet meeting and then asked what kind of sex act she had to perform to get the work done, the report said.
Some employees in 2010 said Casella made discriminatory remarks or told them they would not be able to advance at the DOE because they were not a racial minority, female or gay, the report said. One co-worker quoted her as saying, “It’s bad enough I have to deal with black people” and “it’s the Jews I really can’t stand,” the report said.
The report also said Casella, who is married, would call one of her co-workers her “work husband” and inappropriately touch him despite his discomfort, the report said.
Casella told investigators she did not remember making some comments and others, like calling her co-worker her “work husband” were jokes, according to the report. She also said in an e-mail uncovered by the office that she was being sarcastic in the quote about black and Jewish people, the report said.
In another 2010 probe by the special investigations office, Casella’s co-workers said she tampered with the parent surveys for Information Technology HS to get an “A” grade on the school’s report card. Assistant principals at the school said Casella kept 25 parent surveys to fill out herself, and tried to get others to doctor them as well, according to the office’s report, published in May 2011.
Another investigation from the office revealed that a 12th-grade student at the school used a knife to create a hole in a fellow student’s belt, according to a June 2011 report. Shortly after employees alerted the 108th Precinct, Casella removed the student from the office where he was being held before the police could take him in, the report said.
The student told investigators Casella said she was doing him a favor and told him to get rid of the knife, the report said.
Casella denied these claims in interviews with special investigations office investigators, the report said.
Reach reporter Rebecca Henely by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 718-260-4564.
©2012 Community News Group
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