By CHRIS EBERHART
Despite the threat of a lawsuit, Tuckahoe Superintendent Dr. Barbara Nuzzi continues to withhold information about an October athletic suspension from the student’s guardians.
The suspended Tuckahoe high school student, whose name is being withheld because he is a minor, was suspended for one football game by Nuzzi after an Oct. 13 tweet from the student, saying, “Your [sic] such a waste to this community. Not one person here likes you,” was submitted to the school district by a parent claiming it was malicious and hatefully directed at another student.
Lenny Carraturo, the suspended student’s uncle and legal guardian, said the school district denied his nephew the right to due process and neither he nor the student’s mother was notified about the disciplinary action, a one-game suspension from football on Oct. 19.
Jim Forde, the suspended student’s attorney, originally filed a petition to the New York State Education Department on Nov. 16 against Nuzzi that called for disciplinary action to be taken against her along with a written response from the school district to include the name of the student’s accuser, the removal of any reference to the suspension on the student’s record and a guarantee that the school district will not seek retaliation on the student.
Erin Rose Morris, the Tuckahoe school district’s attorney, said the New York State Education Department sent a letter to the school district on Nov. 25 saying the petition was denied.
“Pursuant to correspondence received by the district on Nov. 25, 2013, the Carraturos’ petition was rejected by the state department of education as it was not properly verified in accordance with the regulations of the commissioner of education,” Morris said.
While both Forde and Morris said the petition lacked a written statement from the suspended student’s mother, Forde said the petition was not rejected and said Morris’s “gleeful attitude was a bit premature.”
According to a letter obtained by The Eastchester Review sent by the state Education Department to Forde, the original petition of appeal, which was filed by Forde on Nov. 16, was just missing verification from the suspended student’s mother—who chose not to be named—which was included and sent back to Albany
The school has until Dec. 26 to respond. Forde said he told the family the litigation process will extend into January of next year.
In addition to the petition of appeal, Forde said he is considering filing a notice of claim in preparation of a lawsuit against the Village of Tuckahoe, the school district and Nuzzi to recover damages, expenses and attorney fees.
He said the entire litigation process could have been avoided if Nuzzi and the Tuckahoe school district swallowed their pride and provided, in writing, the information that the family was looking for.
“All [the school district] had to do was admit they made a mistake in suspending [the student], and offer an apology,” Forde said. “Their arrogance is breathtaking.”
Carraturo said the tweet was not directed at anyone in the school but at the student’s father, with whom he has a tumultuous relationship, according to Carraturo.
“He was never given the opportunity to defend himself and state his case, and he was never told what he was suspended for,” Carraturo said.
Nuzzi said she can’t comment on pending litigation. Morris could not be reached for additional comment as of press time.