The Manhasset School District Superintendent and Board of Education are under fire from parents, students and teachers over the handling of an investigation into allegations of sexual harassment.
Many in the Long Island community want to know why Superintendent Vincent Butera still has his job after an independent investigation found that he violated the district's sexual harassment policy.
Teachers and students wore black on Friday in protest of the school board's decision not to immediately terminate Butera following the investigation. Shortly after 12 p.m., more than 200 seniors staged a walkout at Manhasset Secondary School.
"Hey hey, ho ho, Vincent Butera has to go," they chanted.
"You're a superintendent. You're supposed to be a role model for kids," said senior Jonathan Malary.
Butera has been at the helm of Manhasset Schools for three years. He was the subject of a sexual harassment investigation which found he did "violate district policy."
"I hugged the complainant in an effort to console her as I did others that day," Butera said at a Board of Education meeting Thursday night where he addressed some of the allegations.
"My attention was perceived by the complainant as unwelcome," he elaborated.
In a letter to the Board, the person who complained, a former teacher who taught sixth grade, accused Butera of making her feel uncomfortable when he hugged her twice in school - describing it as "creepy."
She said he paid excessive attention to her, visiting her classroom often and just "stand in the back and stare."
"I think they are protecting someone who is doing something that's wrong," fellow senior Kaitlyn Clarke said.
The teacher who prompted the investigation no longer works in the district. She had to look for another job before she felt safe to make a complaint for fears of retaliation.
The Manhasset School District and Superintendent Butera both declined interview requests.