Shen fires embattled track coach

The Shenendehowa School Board unanimously fired high school track coach Don Paretta at its meeting Tuesday night, April 7.

Paretta was suspended without pay last week following the discovery that his teaching certification was invalidated after investigation of an alleged sexual relationship with a student in 1990.

Appearing before the board at the the April 7 meeting, Paretta said his suspension and resulting dismissal was guided more by \press reports than fact.

Students, athletes and associates came to to speak on behalf of Paretta. Stevan Pupovac, a 2004 Shen graduate and athlete, called Paretta a "father figure" and said the track coach strove "not only to make people better athlete, but better people."

A plea to the board by Doug Shartrand, area lawyer and vice president of the Shenendehowa Track Booster Club, to invite Paretta back to the school as volunteer coach was met with a applause.

Records from the New York State Education Department indicate that Paretta's state certification as a teacher of physical education was invalidated in 1995, the same year he was hired at Shenendehowa. The NYSED sent out a blanket notice of the invalidation to schools statewide on Jan. 24, 1996.

The invalidation hinged on a 1992 investigation into Paretta by the Special Commissioner of Investigation for the New York City School District that found he had "engaged in sexual activity with a student... on several occasions between November 1989 and December 1990." Paretta was a teacher and track coach at the Humanities High School in New York City during that time.



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