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Thursday, April 24, 2014
MAMS teacher, ousted over 'Princesses L.I.' appearance, threatens lawsuit
(Page 3 of 4)
Bravo TV
Stefan Serie, a former Merrick Avenue Middle School health teacher, recently lost his provisional tenure and his position, apparently because of his appearance on “Princesses Long Island.” Now he is threatening to sue the Bellmore-Merrick Central High School District if he doesn’t get his job back. Above, Serie appearing on the show.

Tenure, according to Leeds Brown, cannot be denied because of a teacher’s age, gender, national origin, religion, disability, race or sexual orientation. “Additionally,” the law firm writes, “tenure cannot be denied based on a reason that is ‘arbitrary and capricious.’ In other words, the school district must have a good-faith reason to deny tenure.”

Resignation questions

In a prepared statement, Bellmore-Merrick Central School District Superintendent John DeTommaso wrote that Serie submitted a resignation letter on June 26, and the Board of Education accepted the letter on July 9.

Serie hired Kilada on July 10 or 11. According to the attorney, Serie was told to resign or face termination, so he resigned. But, Kilada said, the effective date of his resignation letter was July 19. Upon receiving legal counsel, Kilada said, Serie wrote to the Board of Education to rescind his resignation before July 19. Therefore, the attorney said, he believes Serie remains a Central District employee, and the Board of Education must vote to remove him.

According to knowledgeable sources, Serie was offered the chance to resign “in lieu of termination.” Under normal circumstances, when employees resign, they are not eligible to collect unemployment benefits. However, sources said, Serie would have been eligible to receive benefits if he resigned in lieu of termination, provided that the school district did not dispute his claim. Resigning in lieu of termination also would have allowed him to write on future job applications that he resigned, and thus avoid having to explain why he was terminated. In effect, sources said, he could have “gone quietly.”

His case, however, has played out in the media in recent weeks, with a half-dozen news organizations covering a protest outside the July 24 Central District Board of Education meeting, at which more than 100 students, parents and teachers called for Serie’s reinstatement. His story has been reported in media outlets as far afield as the U.K. Daily Mail in Great Britain.

Support Stefan Serie organized a second protest at Wednesday's Board of Education meeting. Thirty-six protesters attended. Some held signs. Many marched in the hall outside the meeting, chanting for five to 10 minutes during a presentation by the Central District's architectural company.

Serie’s case

not the first

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