Townsend Harris HS Student Journalists Help ‘Sex’ Teacher Get Started


Power of students!

Thanks to intrepid student journalists, an English teacher and coach at prestigious Townsend Harris HS in Queens was pulled from school this week after it emerged that city investigators confirmed he had sex with a former student.

Joseph Canzoneri, 53, allegedly took the girl to an apartment where he sprayed her with wine and marijuana before they had sex and oral sex, the special commissioner of investigations for schools in the city.

The SCI recommended the dismissal of Canzoneri and the Ministry of Education attempted to do so. But the girl refused to testify in a hearing, so the case was dropped and he was given the right to keep his job under tenure protection in New York.

After more than a year in a rubber room, a space where accused teachers await the disciplinary process, he quietly returned to Townsend Harris in September. The principal kept him away from the classrooms in an office.

Joseph Canzoneri allegedly had sex with a student.
Townsend Harris HS

The scandal was kept under wraps until three weeks ago, when someone leaked the case to teenage reporters at the school’s student newspaper, The Classic.

Known for its aggressive reporting, the newspaper published a series of articles in the past year, of six former students who claimed to have had sexual contact with three Townsend Harris teachers – cases all kept under wraps at the time. Anonymous teachers no longer work at school. The editors called for more openness and training on sexual misconduct for educators.

In light of this campaign, an anonymous ‘concerned parent’ sent The Classic the SCI bombshell report on Canzoneri. Early journalists spotted him in the building and filed a freedom of information law request with the SCI on Wednesday to authenticate the document.

Suddenly the DOE took action. That same week – the agency did not specify on which day – officials dispatched Townsend Harris’s Canzoneri to a “central office” somewhere outside the building. After making $ 135,000 last year, he remains on the payroll.

“It is high time for more transparency about what happened at Townsend Harris and for the DOE and school administration to engage students and families in an open and honest conversation about the horrific allegations. which we reported, ”editors Ryan Eng, Julia Maciejak and Jasmine Palma told The Post.

Jasmine Palma 17, Ryan Eng 17 and Julia Maciejak 17
Classic Editors Jasmine Palma, Ryan Eng and Julia Maciejak. Their student newspaper is known for its aggressive reporting.
Brigitte Stelzer for NY Post
111921 From left to right: Students and school reporter with the student newspaper
Eng, Palma and Maciejak, all 17 years old, stand outside Townsend Harris High School in Queens.
Brigitte Stelzer for NY Post

The students plan to write about the SCI report and how Canzoneri managed to keep his job, among other things. The newspaper cannot be censored by the DOE or school administrators, they said.

The leaked document received by The Classic a few weeks ago was a May 31, 2019 letter from SCI’s Anastasia Coleman to ex-Chancellor Richard Carranza. The 11-page missive combined the results of two Canzoneri investigations, which began in March 2018.

The post got the same SCI letter. He found that Canzoneri, then 49, had engaged in “numerous inappropriate acts” involving teenage students, such as touching a girl inappropriately, driving students in his car, and texting or texting. Instagram.

Joseph canzoneri
The DOE wanted to fire Joseph Canzoneri, but his victim refused to testify. After a year in a rubber room, he was quietly sent back to a Townsend Harris office.
Townsend Harris HS

Most damning, Canzoneri had sex and oral sex with “student G” twice in 2015, according to the report.

Student G, who was in Canzoneri’s class during the 2013-2014 school year, told investigators she developed a “big crush” on the teacher, who also coaches baseball, women’s tennis and worked with children on theatrical productions.

According to the report, Canzoneri gave her a signed book: “You are an extraordinary woman. My love, Joe.

One day after graduating, the loving teenager asked Canzoneri to meet her “to say goodbye”.

Townsend High School
The Classic editors received anonymous tip on Joseph Canzoneri
Brigitte Stelzer for NY Post

She told SCI investigators that they “walked and talked” in a park. Then Canzoneri pulled her under a tree, where they kissed. He then stroked her under her clothes, she told investigators. They arranged to meet in a few days, when he could get the keys to a friend’s apartment.

At the apartment, she was “very nervous” sitting next to him on a sofa, she told investigators. They drank wine, smoked weed and started kissing, according to the report.

Moving to a bedroom, Canzoneri told the girl to undress and lie on her stomach. During sex, he lost his erection, claiming that “it must be the guilt of being married,” according to the report.

In August 2015, before leaving for college, student G texted Canzoneri asking if he wanted to meet again to say goodbye. He drove her to the same park in Queens, where “he drove her behind some bushes.” They had sex – but “only a second or two” because he went limp again, according to the report.

While friends told SCI that student G had sex with Canzoneri, she didn’t come forward until 2018, saying she didn’t want the same to happen to her younger sister. in Townsend Harris.

Canzoneri declined to speak to SCI investigators. He did not resend the Post messages.

Canzoneri’s actions with student G and others show a “model of preparation” of girls for sexual interference that “threatens the well-being of these students and others at THHS,” concluded SCI’s Coleman.

She recommended termination. The DOE served Canzoneri with misconduct charges. As a full teacher, he was entitled to an administrative trial. But none of the students agreed to testify. The hearing officer dismissed the case and ordered Canzoneri’s reinstatement.

“This employee was not allowed to set foot in a classroom after these deeply troubling allegations came to light, and is not working with any student or in any classroom.” DOE spokeswoman Katie O’Hanlon said.

Canzoneri was “reassigned to a post outside of school this week,” she added.


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