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Hewlett confrontation goes viral

Online petition in support of teacher garners more than 3,000 signatures


As seen on a video that was uploaded to a satirical sports and men's lifestyle website on Thursday, a physical education teacher and a student at Hewlett High School had a verbal and nearly physical confrontation on May 9 during a gym class.

The teacher was identified as Chris Passuello on a petition website begun by Briana Azimov, a junior at Hewlett High.

The Herald was told by sources that Passuello was suspended. Officials from the Hewlett-Woodmere School District said they could not confirm that as they cannot discuss personnel matters.

However, the petition states:"Passuello did NOTHING wrong and does not deserve to remain suspended." Currently, the petition has more than 3,000 signatures.

Azimov said she created the petition to support Passuello and raise awareness about what occurs in the high school.

"I had coach Passuello for two years he is a wonderful, wonderful teacher and mentor," Brianna said. "In many classes there are at least two disruptive students and the teachers never take action."

Zarina Azimov, Brianna's mother, said that this cycle of disruption and disrespect is a recurring problem in the high school's classrooms and administration officials term it "senioritis," she said.

"We have been going back and forth with administration all year," Zarina said. "My daughter is there to learn and the teachers are afraid to do anything. I am very proud of my daughter."

In the 2:57 video, the teacher and the student are seen arguing loudly and cursing.

The teacher is heard saying, “You are a disrespectful man that doesn’t listen to anyone. After five times, I am asking you to leave."

The student is heard saying, "You don’t have to get in my face. You don’t have to get my … bubble."

Throughout the very loud argument students are seen just watching what is taking place as they sit on huge exercise balls. One student is seen turning around apparently looking at the person taping the confrontation.

"The Hewlett-Woodmere School District is aware of the video currently circulating on the Internet and social media regarding an interaction between a teacher and a student," Superintendent Dr. Ralph Marino Jr. said. "Appropriate and responsible action to address this matter is underway. We are precluded from providing further information at this time due to the applicable privacy interests of the respective parties. Thank you for your understanding."