School District Investigates Claims of Longtime Sexual Misconduct by Teachers

Linda J. Rozzi, the Babylon schools superintendent, did not respond to an email demanding a response to the charges.

Deirdre Gilligan, a spokesperson for the school system, failed to reply to any specific charges, including assertions that school officials, including the superintendent, had known about the issues for years and had done nothing. In an email, Ms. Gilligan stated little more than that the school district had received the accusations and was investigating.

“The district does not accept abuse of any type, takes all complaints extremely seriously and is dedicated to responding upon each and every claim we receive,” Ms. Gilligan stated in a statement. “We commend the brave folks for coming forward and expressing their voices.”

The New York Times contacted the six teachers who were placed on leave, as well as other teachers who have been accused of misbehavior, but did not receive comments from any. The Times is not naming people who have been accused because they have not been criminally charged and the charges are still under investigation.

The school system has taken certain actions to try to address the allegations. This month, the Crime Victims Center, a Long-Island based nonprofit organisation that advocates for victims, will begin giving sexual harassment training for all school workers. The center will also give training for personnel on their responsibilities to report child abuse or neglect; under New York State law, all school staff members who have contact with children must report such claims. The rule has been in place for instructors since 1973.

Still, calling the reports “troubling,” Letitia James, New York’s attorney general, initiated an investigation into the high school last month.

Former pupils accused the insular culture of Babylon, a predominantly white, middle-class neighborhood, noted for its quaint village vibe and beaches, as partially to blame. The small school has just around 100 students per grade, according to pupils; teachers have often taught entire families, sometimes several generations, encouraging closeness that can slip into intimacy, some alumni noted.