Saturday, January 25, 2020
High school teacher and dean fired from Maspeth High School that is under investigation by the feds
A Maspeth High School math teacher and dean who students say gave them answers on Regents exams and texted with them has been removed, The Post has learned.
Danny Sepulveda was escorted out of the Queens school in late December “due to an ongoing investigation,” the city Department of Education confirmed.
DOE officials said the investigation was “unrelated to academic fraud.”
But Sepulveda, 30, is one of several teachers who gave kids answers during Regents exams, according to statements given to investigators.
One student wrote last year that Sepulveda re-read the questions at the end of the exam: “But while he was reading it he was only saying the right answer choice, and this made me uncomfortable because it showed he didn’t believe in me to pass the exam.”
Another student wrote that during a math Regents exam in June 2018, Sepulveda and math teacher Chris Grunert “helped me and other kids in my room with answers.”
Grunert and others accused of academic misconduct have not been removed from the school.
The feds have started looking into allegations of widespread academic fraud in New York City schools, a Queens lawmaker says.
City Councilman Robert Holden met this month with officials in the US Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of New York after his call for a federal probe of “deep-rooted fraud” in the city Department of Education.
“I’m encouraged by my meeting with the US Attorney. His team is taking this seriously,” Holden told The Post.
FBI agents have already contacted several whistle-blowing teachers whose names he provided, Holden added.
A spokesman for US Attorney Richard Donoghue declined comment.
Holden sent a letter in November to Donoghue in Brooklyn and US Attorney Geoffrey Berman in Manhattan, saying “an apparent pattern of conspiracy to cover up” grade-fixing, cheating and other wrongdoing might warrant an investigation under the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO), which covers criminal enterprises.
In Atlanta, eight educators were convicted under a RICO statute of manipulating student test scores and sentenced to prison in 2015.
Holden turned over records compiled by former and current faculty members at Maspeth High School in Queens, where teachers say administrators encouraged cheating on exams, enforced a “no-fail policy,” and retaliated against staffers who didn’t play ball.