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By Mehrose Ahmad and Sumaita Hasan, Managing Editor and Editor-In-Chief
In the recent sit-in that occurred at Townsend Harris High School, Deputy Superintendent Leticia Pineiro asked for evidence to support the claim that Interim Acting Principal Rosemarie Jahoda has harassed members of her staff. The Classic has confirmed evidence of such behavior.
We have obtained irrefutable evidence of a conversation in which the principal speaks in the following manner in response to a suggestion from a colleague that she be more present in the school’s halls: “Standing in the hallway is not gonna make a difference… I’m not [Former Principal] Anthony [Barbetta] and I’m not standing in the f*****g hallway. I’m not gonna do what Anthony did… I’m not gonna stand and hold the door open.”
In reference to this statement, Ms. Jahoda responded, “Let me explain something to you: I don’t talk like that. I don’t speak to people in that manner.”
Other sources, however, confirmed that “such language is not unusual.” Another said, that this type of discussion is “characteristic of their interactions,” explaining that the dismissive tone has led to a negative culture in the school, where ideas are disregarded and individuals feel harassed for expressing themselves.
In a wide range of conversations, we have heard specific examples of people in the building being spoken to in a manner that has been described as “rude and condescending.”
One source described interactions with the principal that were similarly dismissive and inappropriate as above and left the source in tears following the meeting. We confirmed that multiple individuals witnessed this source’s emotional response to the interaction.
Of the aforementioned example, Principal Jahoda stated, “I don’t recall that.”
Beyond the source that provided the evidence of the quotation about standing in the hallway, our sources were unwilling to consent to us providing specific quotations of their interactions with Principal Jahoda due to fear of retribution, but we can confirm that other such evidence exists. One person we spoke to said, “We believe she [Ms. Jahoda] would retaliate personally against us. I fear retaliation.”
Another person, when asked if they refrained from allowing us to provide specific quotations on the record due to fear of retribution said, “100%” and added, “I have heard clear indication [from the principal] that if you cross [her] path, you’ll get it. I’ve heard from many people about fear of retaliation.”