An investigation is ongoing regarding sexual harassment allegations against a department head at a New York high school, but students said officials should have done that a long time ago.
Students who knew Valley Stream North High School teacher and department head Cecilia Sanossian had a nickname for her: ‘Toucher.’ Students at the Franklin Square school said Sanossian had been way too touchy with them for years.
“If I raised my hand to answer a question, she would say, ‘Good job’ and rub circles on my back and just linger there,” student Jesse DiMeglio told the New York Post.
DiMeglio said Sanossian would also sit on his desk and then lean forward so that her buttocks would be toward him. One school graduate, Peter Wilk, said the teacher’s actions made him uncomfortable.
“She was rubbing my back and calling me ‘sweetie,’ and it definitely felt weird,” Wilk said.
Surprisingly, Sanossian isn’t being investigated for her alleged behavior toward students. She is also accused of sexually harassing male co-workers. Several teachers filed a complaint alleging Sanossian had inappropriate physical contact and made offensive comments to others. The Valley Stream School District is conducting an internal probe, and the New York State Human Rights Division is also investigating.
“The district is aware of the allegations and is conducting an internal investigation. Due to matters of personnel, the district is not offering any further comment at this time,” according to a statement issued from the school district.
The district has no more comments on the matter and sent inquiries to public relations spokesperson Deirdre Gilligan with Syntax Communication Group. Gilligan was not available for comment. It is uncertain whether Sanossian is allowed to continue to teach during the investigation. She has not commented on the allegations.
Social studies teacher John Brennan said he and others decided to file the complaint after administration did nothing to end the harassment. The group informed school administrators of their co-worker’s behavior in 2014 and numerous other times, but Brennan said nothing was done. Brennan said the last incident with Sanossian pushed him past the breaking point.
Brennan said he had a sinus infection and wasn’t feeling well.
“And as she started massaging me — on my back and shoulders, across my neck line — and I said, ‘Could you please stop that?’” he said.
Another teacher, Al Daddino, said the female teacher threatened him with statements that her husband would “put my head on the wall.”
Brennan said enough is enough.
“I’m mentally fatigued, emotionally fatigued, physically fatigued, spiritually fatigued,” he said.
This post originally appeared on Western Journalism – Equipping You With The Truth