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Saugerties high school teacher 'reassigned' pending investigation into racist writing assignment

May 14, 2021 2:30 pm

Diane Pineiro-Zucker is reporting for the Daily Freeman Saugerties High School English teacher Hope Antonelli has been reassigned pending the outcome of an investigation into an assignment she gave students last week that was viewed by members of the community as racist, Superintendent Kirk Reinhardt said. “The district is investigating allegations of an inappropriate journaling assignment at the high school level," Reinhard said in a statement posted on the Saugerties school district website. "... The district takes allegations of this nature very seriously and wishes to emphasize that there are existing procedures under its Dignity for All Students Act policy to make complaints or to bring to the district’s attention, any issues of this nature." Reinhardt’s statement did not provide specifics, such as where Antonelli was reassigned or explain the nature of her current responsibilities. On Tuesday, Saugerties Town Board member John Schoonmaker, two candidates for Town Board and some parents demanded that Antonelli be fired for structuring a writing exercise around the idea that George Floyd's death was not caused by Minneapolis Police Officer Derek Chauvin's actions. Antonelli asserted instead that Floyd died from a heart attack and drug overdose. Reinhardt said he could not discuss whether Antonelli might be fired because of the controversy or how difficult it might be to terminate the employment of a tenured union member of the faculty, other than to say, “I’m sure there’s due process and protocol.” Read the full story in the Daily Freeman.