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City school board officially fires middle school principal

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Posted: Friday, January 17, 2014 10:32 am

GENEVA — The city school district Board of Education formally fired its middle school principal during a special meeting Thursday night.

Carmine Calabria, who had been placed on administrative leave following his March 2013 arrest, was terminated following a hearing believed to have lasted several weeks. The hearing was held in accordance with state Education Department law.

Calabria was charged March 29, 2013, with forcibly touching an adult female in a sexual manner, a class A misdemeanor. The alleged incident occurred at a city business on St. Patrick’s Day weekend last year.

His city court trial on that charge is set to begin the afternoon of Feb. 24.

“These are unfortunate circumstances for everyone here in Geneva,” Superintendent Trina Newton said in a district-issued press release. “This was a difficult decision to make, but it is our responsibility to put the welfare of our children first, and I am confident we have done so. What we want to do now is move forward and focus on providing the best possible education for our students.”

“I am disappointed that the school board chose to make this decision, and make it public,” Calabria’s attorney, Sal Piemonte, said when reached by phone this morning.

Board president Ford Weiskittel opened last night’s discussion by stating the decision was reached according to the recommendation of the hearing officer.

Board member Barbara Roesch Rokow questioned whether or not acting on the resolution meant agreeing or disagreeing with the decision to terminate Calabria.

“What are the options?” she asked.

District counsel stated the board’s action on the resolution would mean it was carrying out the decision.

Roesch Rokow ended up being the lone board member to vote against the resolution. Weiskittel, Josephine Guard, Jessica Bailey, Eileen Halling, Amy Sellers and Stan Tepfer voted in favor.

The district’s statement said Calabria was found guilty of numerous disciplinary charges during the administrative hearing.

“The hearing officer’s decision recognizes that educators and school administers have a duty to act as role models for students, and that even out-of-school misconduct compromises their ability to carry out that important duty,” the district said.

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