"For a teacher to engage in private sexual conversations with a student, invite the student to his house, take the student alone on social excursions to the racetrack and elsewhere, and not rule out a sexual relationship with that student would alone indicate a lack of moral character on the part of the teacher," wrote Hearing Officer F. Patrick Jeffers. "In my opinion, the facts clearly establish a sexual relationship existed between student and teacher and that the teacher was not averse to continuing that relationship after the student graduatedIt is my conclusion that the Department has established that Donald J. Paretta lacks the requisite moral character to continue to teach in the public schools of the state of New York."
Paretta resigned his position at the Humanities High School after disciplinary proceedings began.
Kelly DeFeciani, a spokesperson for the district, said that no NYSED notification of the invalidation is on file at Shenendehowa
"All we can say is that we don't have the notification on file," said Kelly DeFeciani, a spokesperson for the district. "This was 14 years ago, none of the same people are even here."
According to Tom Dunn, a spokesman for the New York State Education Department, all schools have access to an electronic database that will provide up to date information on an individual's certification.
"If they put this fellow in they would know he was a bad customer," said Dunn. "For 13 years, they've had the opportunity to look him up."
DeFeciani said that the district uses the database to check the certification status of new hire, and periodically runs current employees through the system. A check of certifications for teachers"but not coaches"was recently completed, she said. The district also checks staff fingerprints, as mandated by state law.
District officials will be considering the possibility of a policy change in the coming weeks, said DeFeciani.
"Any time something like this happens, we do talk about the situation and talk about ways to make sure it doesn't happen again," she said.