HEWLETT - Students at Hewlett High School rallied Tuesday for the reinstatement of a teacher suspended after being caught on camera in a screaming match with a student.
Dozens of students gathered to support Chris Passuello, a teacher and coach who was suspended after video surfaced online appearing to show him in an aggressive and vocal confrontation with a student over the use of a cellphone.
Hewlett junior Brianna Azimov had Passuello for a physical education and health teacher. She says the student involved had been in trouble before and believes that Passuello did nothing wrong. She organized the rally and set up an online petition that reached more than 5,000 signatures by Tuesday evening.
School officials were present during the rally, but would not comment citing that the issue is a personnel matter. But the district did release a statement that in part says, "Allegations regarding teacher and/or student behavior are taken very seriously, are thoroughly investigated, and where warranted, responsible and appropriate action is taken."
Several school administrators and educators tell News 12 that Passuello's actions were troubling, saying the educator must be the responsible one in the classroom and cannot get in a student's face.