A city teacher accused of having sex with a pupil at a top Queens high school continued to have contact with students despite being removed from the classroom, according to a new report.
In their latest story about the sordid saga, student journalists at Townsend Harris High School wrote that disgraced educator Joseph Canzoneri still came into contact with pupils for extended periods in an office area — and was assigned to oversee a homeroom this month — despite a city investigation that said he bedded a student and engaged in instances of sexual misconduct with other pupils.
The school’s student paper, The Classic, had finally forced Canzoneri’s outright removal from campus last week after it obtained the report that outlined his alleged misconduct and began asking questions.
The cub reporters’ latest story revealed that while the teacher had been removed from the classroom at the school, he still had contact with students before he got the boot from the building.
Students on Tuesday staged a sit-in at the school — one of the city’s top academic bastions — to protest what they deemed administrative inaction in the handling of Canzoneri.
The students blasted administrators for allowing Canzoneri on campus despite the gravity of the charges against him.
“If they won’t keep us safe, we’ll keep us safe!” some students chanted.
A Townsend student told The Classic that she had been in Canzoneri’s presence repeatedly over the fall despite his removal from classrooms.
“In fact, numerous students have [been in the teacher’s presence] at various times when visiting Office 544, which houses teachers from various departments and is where Mr. Canzoneri set up a desk for himself,” the outlet wrote.
The student reporters also obtained a flier that showed Canzoneri’s name next to a homeroom staffing assignment.
A 2019 city Special Commissioner of Investigation report said it found that Canzoneri bedded a student after plying her with alcohol and marijuana and that he engaged in forms of sexual misconduct with other students.
While the DOE pursued his termination after the SCI report emerged, all charges against him were later dropped because the involved students refused to testify against him in a hearing.
Canzoneri was quietly reinstalled at Townsend Harris in September before The Classic’s reporting forced his ouster.
He has since been placed in a central administration building without contact with students, according to the DOE.
“Our number one duty is ensuring the safety of our school communities and there is nothing more important than the well-being of each and every one of our students,” said spokesperson Katie O’Hanlon. “This employee was immediately removed from classrooms once these deeply disturbing allegations came to light and will never be permitted back in Townsend Harris again.”