NYC principal resigns following sexual harassment allegations from male teacher


A Manhattan high school principal has resigned after he was accused of pressing his groin against a male teacher’s leg at a holiday party, officials confirmed. 

The complaint against openly-gay Lower Manhattan Arts Academy Principal Derek Premo, 47, was revealed by the New York Post six months ago. It was filed by special-ed teacher John Colin with the state Division of Human Rights. 

That state-level case is still pending as of Friday, according to the Department of Education.

On Wednesday, Manhattan High School superintendent Vivien Orlen sent an email to families notifying them that Premo, who earned $183,854, had resigned. 

Orlen said that Premo had increased the school’s graduation rate and ‘went above and beyond’ during the pandemic.

Lower Manhattan Arts Academy principal Derek Premo, 47, has resigned following allegations of sexual harassment against a male teacher at a holiday party in 2019

Lower Manhattan Arts Academy principal Derek Premo, 47, has resigned following allegations of sexual harassment against a male teacher at a holiday party in 2019

On Wednesday, Manhattan High School superintendent Vivien Orlen sent an email to the families of students at Lower Manhattan Arts Academy (pictured)notifying them that Premo had resigned

On Wednesday, Manhattan High School superintendent Vivien Orlen sent an email to the families of students at Lower Manhattan Arts Academy (pictured)notifying them that Premo had resigned

‘I know many of you will miss him,’ he said. 

Daisy Fontanez, a Department of Education substitute principal, will continue serving as interim principal. Premo had been on leave since Thanksgiving.     

According to Colin’s complaint, Premo approached Colin and two female teachers at Pianos, a Lower East Side bar, during a gathering on December 19, 2019.

The principal pressed his groin against Colin’s leg under a bar-height table and maintained that contact throughout a 20-minute-long conversation, the complaint states.   

‘It was very uncomfortable because I could feel his penis on my leg, and he was leaning his face very close to mine… VERY uncomfortable,’ Colin told the Post.

‘Then he started telling me about how he and his husband liked to have parties,’ Colin wrote, saying that Premo emphasized the word ‘parties’ and was ‘looking directly into my eyes when he said it.’

In a complaint, teacher John Colins alleges that Premo, pictured, pressed his groin against Colin's leg under a bar-height table and maintained that contact throughout a 20-minute-long conversation on December 19, 2019

In a complaint, teacher John Colins alleges that Premo, pictured, pressed his groin against Colin’s leg under a bar-height table and maintained that contact throughout a 20-minute-long conversation on December 19, 2019

Colin told the outlet that he waited until after the height of the COVID pandemic to file a claim against his boss, saying that a sexual harassment seminar caused his discomfort to resurface. He named the two female teachers who allegedly witnessed the encounter as witnesses. 

Previously, Premo was accused of touching a student inappropriately and ‘making [them] feel uncomfortable’ at his former workplace, the Life Sciences Secondary School on the Upper East Side – but officials said that complaint was unsubstantiated. 

Previously, Premo (pictured) was accused of touching a student inappropriately and 'making [them] feel uncomfortable' at his former workplace, the Life Sciences Secondary School on the Upper East Side

Previously, Premo (pictured) was accused of touching a student inappropriately and ‘making [them] feel uncomfortable’ at his former workplace, the Life Sciences Secondary School on the Upper East Side

Amid an investigation into Premo's conduct at the 2019 holiday party, he allowed 27-year-old social studies teacher Gabriel Mitey (pictured) continue teaching after he posted a nearly-nude photo of himself on Snapchat with just a towel covering his groin

Amid an investigation into Premo’s conduct at the 2019 holiday party, he allowed 27-year-old social studies teacher Gabriel Mitey (pictured) continue teaching after he posted a nearly-nude photo of himself on Snapchat with just a towel covering his groin

Premo also drew criticism for allowing 27-year-old social studies teacher Gabriel Mitey to continue teaching at the school after he posted a nearly-nude photo of himself on Snapchat with just a towel covering his groin. 

Students who followed him on the platform took screenshots, and told the Post they were ‘shocked.’  

Typically, a teacher accused of sexual harassment is immediately sidelined per Department of Education procedure. 

A recently graduated male student had also accused Mitey of sexually harassing him during his senior year, telling the Post that the teacher began texting him about non-school matters, like ‘asking how my day was,’ and asked him to meet over the summer after he had graduated for ‘coffee at his place, maybe food.’

Regardless, Premo allowed Mitey  to remain the classroom.

In November, LOMA students held a sit-in to demand Mitey’s removal. The Department of Education ‘reassigned’ him, the Post reported, but he remains on the city payroll.             

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