Report Faults Ex-Principal in Stuyvesant Cheating Scandal

Stan Teitel learned of the cheating ring through an anonymous email from a student and set up a sting to catch the ringleader, a report says

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    A report released Friday on a 2012 cheating scandal at an elite city high school found that the school's former principal mishandled the incident and failed to report it to state and city education officials.

    The report into the scandal at the hypercompetitive Stuyvesant High School recommends that ex-principal Stanley Teitel be barred from ever being hired as a principal again.

    Reached at home, Teitel had no comment.

    Teitel learned of the cheating ring, investigators found, when a student sent him an anonymous email accusing fellow students of using their phones to share information during state Regents tests.

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    "I don't think it's fair that students just got all the answers when others work really hard to do well on an exam," the email said. "Please do something about this situation."

    According to the report by the Office of Special Investigations for the city Department of Education, Teitel "showed an extreme lack of judgment" when instead of confronting the purported ringleader he set up a sting to catch the student in the act during a June 18 Spanish-language test.

    As the report details, Teitel then confiscated the student's phone and searched it to learn which students were part of the cheating ring.

    Dozens of students were suspended for five or 10 school days and were made to retake the tests.

    But investigators said Teitel and assistant principal Randi Damesek "evinced a lack of professional judgment and an intent to obstruct the reporting process" when they didn't promptly inform the state Department of Education and the appropriate city authorities.

    Teitel announced his retirement in August 2012. Damesek, who is still at Stuyvesant, did not immediately return a call or an email seeking comment Friday.

    Cellphones are banned at city schools, but the rule isn't enforced consistently.

    Stuyvesant, which admits only students who receive the highest scores on a test given in the fall of eighth grade, has vowed to crack down on cheating since the scandal.

    The student accused of being the Regents exam ringleader told the investigators he knew he could start texting answers to a physics test after a teacher proctoring the test fell asleep at her desk.

    The teacher, in her own interview, denied ever falling asleep while proctoring.