OFFICE OF SPECIAL INVESTIGATIONS INVESTIGATIVE REPORT

Courtenaye Jackson-Chase General Counsel

DATE:

November 5, 2012

Candace R. McLaren Director

TO:

Candace R. McLaren Director Dennis Boyles Kara Hughes Robert Small Confidential Investigators An Investigation into Cheating and Testing Improprieties at Stuyvesant High School during June 2012

Christopher J. Dalton Deputy Director

FROM :

Norris W. Knowles Associate Director

SUBJECT:

OSI Case #12-5848 ________________________________________________________________________ ORIGIN OF COMPLAINT On June 29, 2012, the Office of Special Investigations (“OSI”) received a referral from the Special Commissioner of Investigation (“SCI”) concerning the conduct of Stanley Teitel, Principal, Stuyvesant High School (“Stuyvesant”). On June 25, 2012, Despina Zaharakis, Senior Executive Director, Office of School Support, called SCI to report Mr. Teitel for “testing improprieties.” Specifically, Ms. Zaharakis relayed concern that Mr. Teitel had failed to report an incident of student cheating on the June 2012 Regents exams to both State and City officials.1

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It should be noted that the first media coverage of the Stuyvesant “cheating scandal” was printed in the New York Daily News on Monday, June 25, 2012.

OSI Case #12-5848 RESULTS OF INVESTIGATION Stuyvesant students/parents: Student A, 16-year-old, male, 11th grade: Student A’s OSI interview: Student A was interviewed on July 30, 2012 by Investigators Boyles and Hughes, in the presence of Father A.2 To begin, Student A confirmed that he had used his iPhone to disseminate test information during multiple June 2012 Regents exams; he explained that he did not get caught until the day that the LOTE exam was given.3 Regarding his understanding of Stuyvesant’s cell phone policy, Student A stated that Mr. Teitel advises students that he “doesn’t check bags;” however, “if a teacher sees a phone, they’ll confiscate it.” He further acknowledged that Mr. Teitel has “outlined” this policy “multiple times.” When asked why he decided to cheat on the exams, Student A expressed that he wanted to garner “good will” amongst his classmates. He explained that he is “good” in Physics, “okay” in U.S. History, and” “not good at all” in Spanish; as such, he was “hoping” that one of the classmates whom he helped on the Physics or U.S. History exam would be motivated to assist him during the LOTE exam. When questioned, Student A explained that the first conversation he had with any classmates about potentially cheating was held “face-to-face” on Tuesday, June 12, 2012. Following this, Student A and Students E and F communicated about the plan via text messaging.4 When asked about the eventual number of students involved, Student A asserted that the number of students who received his texts “grew and grew.” Student A claimed that, although the plan to cheat was “maybe mentioned” on Facebook, no details about the plan were disclosed online. With regard to how he actually planned to cheat, Student A explained to Investigators Boyles and Hughes that each Regents exam is proctored by two separate individuals, the second of whom takes the place of the first mid-way through the threehour exam. According to Student A, the first Regents exam he took was the Physics exam: his proctors were Mr. Francis, followed by an unidentified female.5 Initially, Student A asserted that, because he was “familiar with” Mr. Francis and “knew he was hard [an observant proctor],” he “didn’t utilize [his] cell phone” until Ms. George came to relieve Mr. Francis of his proctoring post. When Investigators Boyles
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A summary of Father A’s brief interview statements follows the summary of Student A’s statements. For reference, the “LOTE” is the “Language Other Than English” exam; it was administered on June 18, 2012. Although it is a city-wide (and not a state-wide) test, a student’s performance on the LOTE affects whether he or she receives an Advanced Regents diploma. 4 All attempts to contact and interview Students E and F were unsuccessful. 5 Mr. Francis has been identified as Hugh Francis, ELA teacher; based on the proctoring schedule provided to OSI by Assistant Principal and testing coordinator Randi Damesek, it is believed that the female proctor is Biology teacher Shangaza George.
Chancellor’s Office of Special Investigations 65 Court Street - Room 922 • Brooklyn, NY 11201 Telephone: 718 935 3800; Fax: 718 935 3931

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OSI Case #12-5848 and Hughes apprised Student A that his phone records indicate that he did use his phone on June 13 during the first half of the Physics exam, Student A clarified, “I didn’t use it for answers.” When questioned, Student A clarified that the text messages were “all related to the test, but not answers.” According to Student A, soon after Ms. George took over as proctor, he “took a picture of [his] scrap paper [that had] all of [his] ‘short answer’ answers on it.” At first, Student A stated that he sent the photo to approximately five or six students, but then he later clarified that he sent the photo to upwards of 71 to 80 students, but that only five or six students “had cell phones capable” of receiving the photo message. He clarified that this was the only photograph of the Physics exam that he had sent to his classmates. Student A asserted that Ms. George was not an astute proctor, and that she did not walk around the room to monitor test-takers. According to Student A, there was an undetermined point in time when Ms. George “fell asleep” while sitting at a desk located at the front of the classroom.6 Student A stated that he capitalized on this, explaining, “I left my cell phone on my desk. The female just sat at her desk and fell asleep.” Student A explained that, aside from the photograph of his scrap paper, the remainder of the messages that he sent out were “text-only.” Upon request, Student A indicated that, during the Physics exam, he sent approximately 10 separate text messages to roughly 80 classmates. It was Student A’s rough estimation that 15-20% of his classmates wrote him back; he acknowledged that some students wrote him back that he had the “wrong number.” When questioned, Student A stated that he had created the predetermined group distribution list “completely [at] random.” He explained, “People asked, ‘Could you put me on the mass text?’” which then expanded the initial group that had been comprised of him, Students E and F. It was at this point during his OSI interview that Student A contended that he did not send any text messages to students outside of Stuyvesant; he further asserted that he did not make any money as a result of sending out exam answers. When asked what he would have done if he had been unable to access his cell phone during the administration of any of the exams, Student A offered, “I would have prepared a crib sheet and communicated [with my classmates] after I finished a three hour test in two hours.” When asked about the U.S. History Regents exam, Student A detailed that his first proctor was Mr. Jaye, a math teacher, and that Mr. Waxman was the second proctor.7 Student A admitted that he used his cell phone to text answers to classmates during the administration of the U.S. History exam. He clarified that he sent messages that were “text only and no photos,” and explained that he was able to access his phone by placing it on his lap.8 Student A stated that he sent roughly 33 texts about the essays that
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For reference, Student A explained that he was sitting in the second row, on the “complete” opposite side of the room from the desk at which Ms. George fell asleep. 7 According to the proctoring paperwork provided by Ms. Damesek, Gary Rubenstein, and Bernard Feigenbaum were assigned to proctor Student A’s U.S. History exam; Gary Jaye teaches Math, and Michael Waxman is a Social Studies teacher. As is detailed in the summary of Ms. Damesek’s interview, the proctoring paperwork obtained by OSI reflects the preliminary proctoring schedule – Ms. Damesek acknowledged that adjustments were made to this schedule, often as late as the day-of the exam. 8 Student A, who has a slight frame, demonstrated that held his legs together and placed his knees on the edge of his desk, so as to access his phone without much difficulty.
Chancellor’s Office of Special Investigations 65 Court Street - Room 922 • Brooklyn, NY 11201 Telephone: 718 935 3800; Fax: 718 935 3931

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OSI Case #12-5848 appeared on the U.S. History exam, and that he had to send “one text per essay.” He told Investigators Boyles and Hughes that he messaged fewer people during the U.S. History exam than he had during the Physics, estimating that he texted somewhere between 40 and 50 classmates. Student A could not recall how many of his classmates responded to his texts during the History exam – he estimated that “maybe between three and five kids” wrote back. According to Student A, because he was “nearly done” by the time Mr. Waxman relieved Mr. Jaye of his proctoring duties, he was “almost done” with both his exam and his efforts to disseminate exam answers to his classmates when Mr. Waxman became the classroom proctor. Student A reported that Ms. Arora and an unidentified female were his proctors for the ELA exam.9 Student A stated that there was “no cheating” during the administration of the ELA Regents exam. He clarified that he received texts from “five to ten people” asking for help, to which he replied, “English is easy.” When asked about the LOTE exam, the only proctor Student A named was Mr. Tillman.10 Student A told Investigators Boyles and Hughes that he later found that he had been “set up,” and that Mr. Tillman had been placed in his testing room for the express purpose of watching Student A.11 According to Student A, Mr. Tillman was responsible for “giving the opening talk,” regarding testing procedures. When questioned about the content of Mr. Tillman’s announcements, Student A replied, “I think he said something about phones. I recall him saying something like ‘phones away.’” According to Student A, within “five minutes” of beginning the LOTE exam, Mr. Tillman caught him while he took a photograph of the exam and sent it to approximately five or six classmates. Student A explained that he was sending the photo to students whom he believed could provide useful assistance on the essay portion of the exam. Student A stated that Mr. Teitel was “walking by the [class]room” at roughly the same time that Mr. Tillman caught him. Mr. Teitel then entered the room and, “in front of [Student A’s classmates], asked “Do you have a phone on you? Give it to me.” When Student A questioned, “Why?,” Mr. Teitel replied, “Because I’m the Principal.” Following this, Student A relinquished his cell phone to the Principal; he then accompanied Mr. Teitel to the main office. Student A stated that, once he was in the Principal’s office, Ms. Damesek arrived. According to Student A, Ms. Damesek “told me I could finish my test.” When Student A questioned why he would he should take the time to finish the test, Ms. Damesek remarked something to the effect of, “It doesn’t matter, just fill in [Scantron] bubbles.” It was Student A’s stated belief that, as he worked on completing his LOTE exam, Ms. Damesek and Mr. Teitel were attempting to retrieve information from his iPhone. He stated that, at a certain point in time, they received assistance from “Mr. Wong, the tech

Ms. Arora has been identified as chemistry teacher Sushma Arora; the proctoring paperwork provided by Ms. Damesek indicates that Ms. Arora and Ms. Roz Bierig, Biology teacher, proctored Student A’s ELA exam. 10 According to the paperwork provided by Ms. Damesek, Neil Wang and Robert Rosen were the teachers initially assigned to proctor Student A’s LOTE classroom; Mr. Tillman has been identified as Social Studies teacher Dan Tillman. 11 Student A was not certain who had apprised him of such.
Chancellor’s Office of Special Investigations 65 Court Street - Room 922 • Brooklyn, NY 11201 Telephone: 718 935 3800; Fax: 718 935 3931

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OSI Case #12-5848 guy,” who “tried to download” data from Student A’s phone onto a school computer.12 Student A was also told that his father was being called to the school. At an undetermined point in time prior to Father A’s arrival, Mr. Teitel asked Student A why he had “done it.” Student A, who understood the inquiry to mean “why’d you cheat on the LOTE,” told his Principal that he was sorry. Once Father A was present, Mr. Teitel announced to both Student and Father A, “There’s no way I’m keeping him at Stuy.” Student A stated that, when he and Father A returned to the school on June 19, 2012,13 Ms. Damesek spoke about his having to “leave the school” “before it hits The Post.” In saying this, Student A believed that Ms. Damesek was referencing him having used his cell phone to disseminate information to classmates during multiple exams. During this conversation, Ms. Schindler, Student A’s guidance counselor, appeared and suggested that she would “handle the paperwork.”14 Mr. Teitel, Ms. Damesek, and Ms. Schindler then told Student A, “You’re going to leave the school. There are two ways it’s going to happen: a transportation transfer or you tell [officials], ‘I’m worried I’m going to get beat up.’” It was Student A’s contention that Mr. Teitel vowed that, if an administrator from any other school called Stuyvesant asking about Student A, he would not “say anything about cheating.” Student A was then given his “whole file,” and directed to go to a DOE Enrollment Office to speak with a representative about affecting a transfer. Student A stated that, at Mr. Teitel’s advice, on June 19, 2012, he and Father A traveled to a Manhattan Enrollment Office where they interfaced with an unidentified male employee. Despite speaking with the Enrollment official about the possibility of Student A transferring from Stuyvesant, Student A stated that he did not provide the enrollment officer with any paperwork. When questioned, Student A stated that he did not feel any sense of danger from any of his Stuyvesant classmates. He further confirmed that, to his knowledge, no one affiliated with Stuyvesant had made any threats against him. Student A’s phone records: Based upon a subpoena prepared by SCI, OSI was granted access to Student A’s telephone records for all activity on his cellular phone between June 1, 2012 at 5:17:54 AM and June 30, 2012 at 9:43:18 AM.15 The records reflect both outgoing and incoming communication.

“Mr. Wong” has been identified as Edward Wong, Assistant Principal of Technology Services. At this point during Student A’s interview, Father A interjected, explaining that they had returned to Stuyvesant so that “[Student A] could apologize” for having cheated. 14 Ms. Schindler has been identified as guidance counselor Mazra Schindler. 15 A copy of this record is enclosed in this case file for reference.
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Chancellor’s Office of Special Investigations 65 Court Street - Room 922 • Brooklyn, NY 11201 Telephone: 718 935 3800; Fax: 718 935 3931

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OSI Case #12-5848 Communication during the June 13, 2012 Physics Regents exam, administered between roughly 1:15 and 4:15 PM:16 It appears that, at 1:14 PM, Student A sent one text message simultaneously to approximately 50 recipients thought to be members of a pre-determined group distribution list.17 Outbound messages appear to be sent throughout the duration of the exam period. By the undersigned investigators’ count, during the three hour period in which the Physics Regents exam was being administered, 1017 messages were sent from Student A’s phone and 37 incoming messages were received. Communication during the June 14, 2012 U.S. History Regents exam, administered between roughly 9:15 AM and 12:15 PM: Based upon his phone records, in the minutes leading up to the administration of the U.S. History exam, Student A sent a series of consecutive messages, not to group distribution list, but, rather, to specific telephone numbers. Beginning at 8:49 AM, Student A sent 40 consecutive messages to XXX-XX-XX50; no incoming messages were received in response. Student A then sent 36 consecutive messages to XXX-XX-XX50; no incoming messages were received. This pattern repeated itself up until roughly 9:16 AM, such that 17 additional phone numbers received similar individualized blasts. By the undersigned investigators’ count, it appears that Student A sent a total of 796 text messages to 28 different recipients between 8:49 AM and 12:15 PM; during this time period he also received 14 messages. However, based upon the timing of these text messages, it does not appear as if Student A sent a text message to a group distribution list during the administration of the U.S. History Regents exam. Communication during the June 15, 2012 ELA Regents, administered between roughly 9:15 AM and 12:15 PM: The undersigned investigators’ tally revealed that Student A sent out 30 individual text messages while the ELA exam was being administered. His phone records also indicate that he received 24 incoming messages during this three-hour period of time. Communication during the June 18, 2012 LOTE exam, administered between roughly 12:30 and 3:30 PM: According to his phone records, between 12:17 and 1:49 PM, Student A received ten messages, from seven different phone numbers. The next message was not received
According to Margaret Reardon, Associate Education Analyst, Office of Assessment, DOE, students who have finished a Regents exam are permitted to leave the examination room 45 minutes after the exam began. Randi Damesek, Stuyvesant’s testing coordinator, indicated that students are permitted to leave an examination room after one hour and 45-minutes. As such, even with the available evidence, it is impossible to determine Student A’s (or any student’s) whereabouts during the later portion of the administration of any Regents exam. 17 Text messages that were sent at intervals of ten seconds or shorter were considered part of a group distribution list; those sent at intervals that exceeded ten seconds were not considered part of a list. To illustrate, messages sent at 1:13:02, 1:13:08, and 1:13:15 would be considered a part of a distribution list, but messages sent at 1:13:02 and 1:13:13 would not.
Chancellor’s Office of Special Investigations 65 Court Street - Room 922 • Brooklyn, NY 11201 Telephone: 718 935 3800; Fax: 718 935 3931
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OSI Case #12-5848 until 3:02 PM. Between 12:17 and 1:49 PM, Student A did not send out any text messages. Father A: At the close of Student A’s July 30, 2012 OSI interview, Father A – who had been present during his son’s interview – spoke with Investigators Boyles and Hughes in the presence of Student A. He confirmed that he had appeared at Stuyvesant on June 18, 2012, at the request of an administrator. Upon his arrival, Father A spoke with Mr. Teitel who told him, “He’s not staying in my school.” Father A explained that he and Student A returned to Stuyvesant on June 19th, as Father A wanted for Student A to “apologize” for having cheated. Father A stated that he spoke with Mr. Teitel on June 19th, imploring him to keep Student A at Stuyvesant. In response, the Principal said, “I’m not going to listen any more. He’s not staying in my school.” Mr. Teitel then “put [Father and Student A] in touch with a guidance counselor.” According to Father A, “after” the incident was reported in the New York press, Jie Zhang called him to discuss Student A’s status at Stuyvesant.18 Father A said that Ms. Zhang “asked if [Student A] had a safety problem,” to which Father A indicated that he did not. Ms. Zhang responded by saying she “could help.” Ms. Zhang also requested that Father A “put in writing” that Student A “doesn’t have a safety problem.” During this telephone conversation, Ms. Zhang had explained to Father A that she was leaving for China, but that she would touch base with him upon her return. At that time of Father A’s OSI interview, he had only spoken with Ms. Zhang that one time. Father A stated that, “on the last day of school,” Ms. Schindler notified him, “We couldn’t do a transportation transfer.”19 She then provided Father A with Student A’s file in addition to “safety transfer paperwork.” Father A recalled, “The Principal signed [the paperwork] in front of me and I left.” Father A confirmed that he and Student A were later “rejected” by the Enrollment Office, whose representative did not approve Student A’s transfer. Father A clarified that he did not know why the transfer was denied, but offered that he was satisfied with the result, as he wanted Student A to remain at Stuyvesant.

Children’s First Network (“CFN”) personnel: Jie Zhang, Network Leader:20 Ms. Zhang was interviewed by Investigators Hughes and Small at OSI on July 26, 2012. At that time, she explained that she learned of the reported “cheating incident” when she received a call from Mr. Charles Amundsen, the Cluster Leader, on Monday,
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At the time of said phone call, Ms. Zhang was Stuyvesant’s Network Leader; in August 2012 she was appointed as the new Stuyvesant Principal. 19 It is believed that Father A is referencing June 27, 2012, the last day of school for all students. 20 Effective August 6, 2012, Ms. Zhang became Stuyvesant’s Interim-Acting Principal.
Chancellor’s Office of Special Investigations 65 Court Street - Room 922 • Brooklyn, NY 11201 Telephone: 718 935 3800; Fax: 718 935 3931

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OSI Case #12-5848 June 25, 2012, at approximately 6:00 PM. After Mr. Amundsen explained that the DOE’s Press Office had received a call from a reporter inquiring about Stuyvesant, Ms. Zhang notified the Cluster Leader that she did not know anything about the incident in question. She then called Mr. Teitel. According to Ms. Zhang, during the evening of June 25, Mr. Teitel confirmed that, “Yes, kids were caught cheating,” explaining, “We notified parents. We took care of it.” Mr. Teitel did not indicate the specific exams during which the students had cheated. Ms. Zhang then notified Mr. Teitel that the incident was “in the news,” and asked him to “put in writing” how he had handled the incident thus far. Ms. Zhang then called Mr. Amundsen to apprise him of what she had learned; it was at this time that Mr. Amundsen requested that Ms. Zhang report to Stuyvesant the following day. Ms. Zhang confirmed that she traveled to Stuyvesant on the morning of June 26, 2012; before arriving at the school, she learned that Ms. Zaharakis was going to be holding a conference call – of which Mr. Teitel was a participant – later that day. Upon arriving at the school, Ms. Zhang stated that she “sat with the Principal,” and asked him to detail the events leading up to when Student A got caught cheating. Prior to his participation in the conference call, Mr. Teitel explained to Ms. Zhang that, before the administration of the LOTE exam – “possibly on Friday June 15th” – he had received a report from a student warning him that “cheating will take place” on an upcoming exam. It was at roughly this point during their conversation that the conference call began. Once the call started, Mr. Teitel explained to Ms. Zaharakis and various other call participants that, on the day that Student A was caught cheating on the LOTE exam, he “called a cabinet meeting” during which it was determined that a proctor would be “added” to the room in which Student A was scheduled to take his exam. According to the account provided by Mr. Teitel, Student A was “caught trying to send a message out [from a cell phone]. [Initially] the student refused to give up the phone.” Mr. Teitel also clarified that Student A was given the opportunity to finish taking the LOTE exam. While the student was completing his exam, Stuyvesant’s Assistant Principal of Organization (“APO”) began “checking” Student A’s phone.21 According to Mr. Teitel, Ms. Damesek then began to “record names of students [Student A] sent massive emails out to.” During the conference call, Mr. Teitel estimated that Student A’s group message was sent to as many as 69 recipients. Ms. Zhang stated that, during the conference call, Mr. Teitel recounted how, on June 18, he called Father A, who agreed to travel to Stuyvesant to retrieve Student A. While the father was en route, Ms. Damesek continued to work with the data on Student A’s phone. Ms. Zhang recalled, “I think it took hours to record [student] names.” Mr. Teitel explained that, once Father A arrived at Stuyvesant, he “had a conversation” with the father about “transferring [Student A] to another school.” Ms. Zhang also recalled that Mr. Teitel told the participating members of the conference call that, with Student and Father A’s consent, the student’s cell phone remained at the school.

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It has been established that Stuyvesant’s APO is Randi Damesek.
Chancellor’s Office of Special Investigations 65 Court Street - Room 922 • Brooklyn, NY 11201 Telephone: 718 935 3800; Fax: 718 935 3931

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OSI Case #12-5848 At this point during her OSI interview, Ms. Zhang told Investigators Hughes and Small that, after Student and Father A left Stuyvesant, “I think they [Mr. Teitel and Ms. Damesek] reviewed the phone and took names then, in the middle of this, they realized they should look into [the] content” of each particular text exchange, including the times that the messages were sent, as well as whether the recipient had responded to Student A. According to Ms. Zhang’s understanding of Mr. Teitel’s reported version of events, “They got through possibly 10 or 12 kids – recording the content [of their exchanges with Student A] – when, all of a sudden, the information [on the phone] disappeared.” Upon questioning, Ms. Zhang told Investigators Hughes and Small her belief that Student A’s text messaging “effected all three Regents exams: Physics, U.S. History, and ELA,” in addition to the LOTE exam. This is, in sum and substance, all that Ms. Zhang recalled of the conference call in which Mr. Teitel participated on June 26, 2012. She clarified that she, personally, was “not actively participating [in the call],” and, instead, was “just listening.” Ms. Zhang stated that, at the conclusion of the call, Ms. Zaharakis instructed Mr. Teitel to “interview the kids” who had been identified as having been in communication with Student A during the administration of any Regents exam. Following the telephone call, Ms. Zhang asked Mr. Teitel whether he had filed any OORS reports regarding this or any related incident.22 When Mr. Teitel indicated that he had not, Ms. Zhang instructed him to prepare and enter the reports. She detailed, “We reported [it] immediately after the conference call.” It was at this time that Mr. Teitel also admitted to Ms. Zhang that, in addition to Student A having been caught cheating, the school had identified that there was “cheating on the Physics” Regents exam. Ms. Zhang clarified that OORS reports were then filed regarding the catching of Student A using his phone during the LOTE exam, as well as the reported cheating on the Physics exam.23 According to Ms. Zhang, during the evening of June 26, 2012, she participated in another conference call; she recalled that Mr. Teitel, Mr. Fox, and Superintendent Tamika Matheson were also on said call. Ms. Zhang detailed that it was during this call that Ms. Matheson admitted that, on June 18, 2012 – the day that Student A was caught using his cell phone during the LOTE exam, Mr. Teitel called her to report the incident. According to Ms. Matheson, after learning of the incident, she instructed Mr. Teitel to “follow up on the incident.” Ms. Zhang told Investigators Hughes and Small that Mr. Teitel “never shared” that he had reached out to Ms. Matheson regarding student cheating. Ms. Zhang detailed that, by the conclusion of the conference call, she had “been identified as the person who would contact [Student A’s] family.” Ms. Zhang stated that her purpose in contacting Father A was to “enable [Student A] to stay at Stuyvesant.” Ms. Zhang confirmed that she did speak with Father A to discuss the possibility of Student A “staying at Stuyvesant.” She told Investigators Hughes and Small that she had spoken to Father A once, via telephone, prior to leaving the country for a personal vacation. During a conversation, held during the evening of June 26, 2012, Father A
OORS reports are those that are filed using the DOE’s Online Occurrence Reporting System. Copies of said reports are enclosed in this case file for reference. Additionally, it should be noted that student cheating on the Physics exam is not being addressed in this investigative report.
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Chancellor’s Office of Special Investigations 65 Court Street - Room 922 • Brooklyn, NY 11201 Telephone: 718 935 3800; Fax: 718 935 3931

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OSI Case #12-5848 apprised Ms. Zhang that “the school had given [him] information encouraging [Student A] to transfer.” Ms. Zhang explained to Father A that she was soon to leave the country, but that, upon her return, she would work with him in an effort to keep Student A at Stuyvesant. Ms. Zhang stated that June 26, 2012 was the last time that she was in any communication with Father A. Ms. Zhang also recalled that, by the end of the June 26, 2012 evening conference call, it had also been determined that Mr. Teitel needed to interview “each student” who had been involved in the incident to gain a better understanding of what, if anything, the students knew about Student A’s cheating. Ms. Zhang stated that, “between the conference call and the [following] morning, the school developed an interview protocol;” she did not participate in the drafting of any interview questions. Ms. Zhang did, however, report to Stuyvesant on June 27, 2012, when approximately 52 students “were to be interviewed.”24 Regarding the events of June 27, Ms. Zhang described that Mr. Teitel and Ms. Damesek conducted the student interviews together. “In the middle” of the interviews, “the Principal got called to do something,” prompting Ms. Damesek to request that Ms. Zhang sit in on the remaining student interviews. Ms. Zhang stated that she was present when Ms. Damesek interviewed approximately ten students. According to Ms. Zhang, she observed while the APO asked questions from a questionnaire, and took notes. After the questionnaire was filled out, Ms. Damesek then requested that the students write statements reflecting their version of events. Regarding the information elicited from the students, Ms. Zhang described that “everyone [all of the students] said they got it [the text], knew [Student A] was cheating and deleted the message and didn’t use it [the message] to cheat.” She recalled Ms. Damesek counseling each student, stating something to the effect of, “This is not what we expect out of you. This has consequences. You might lose a privilege.” Ms. Zhang explained that copies of all of the questionnaires and written statements were provided to DOE Deputy Counsel Robin Greenfield at the close of the day. She also stated that, following these interviews, she called Ms. Zaharakis to “give summaries” of what had been discovered. At that time, Ms. Zaharakis requested that attempts be made to interview all remaining students. Ms. Zaharakis also requested copies of the any notes and/or statements taken during the interviews; Ms. Zhang recalled directing Ms. Zaharakis to speak with Robin Greenfield to obtain said documents. At the conclusion of her interview, Ms. Zhang relayed that she did read the letter sent to parents, notifying them that their children’s test scores had been invalidated. She offered her belief that individuals “at [the] Central [DOE office]” had read and approved the letter before it was mailed to Stuyvesant parents.

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Ms. Zhang stated that she and Mr. Teitel decided to interview students when they came to the main office to retrieve their report cards.
Chancellor’s Office of Special Investigations 65 Court Street - Room 922 • Brooklyn, NY 11201 Telephone: 718 935 3800; Fax: 718 935 3931

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OSI Case #12-5848 June 25, 2012 email correspondence sent from Mr. Teitel to Ms. Zhang at 6:35 PM, and forwarded by Ms. Zhang to Mr. Amundsen at 6:48 PM: Dear Jie, This email is only for in house use. Last weekend I received an email from a female student indicating that a particular male student was involved in cheating. She indicated that he was going to cheat again during the LOTE exam on Monday morning. I called an emergency cabinet meeting to discuss the matter. It was agreed that we would send in a very strong proctor to his exam room. The teacher knew the situation. Sure enough, the student tried to text during the exam. The teacher asked for the phone, but the student refused. I was called to the room, and I removed the student to my conference room to continue the exam. I took his cell phone. While the student continued the exam, we discovered through his cell phone inbox that numerous students were involved in sending and receiving texts [sic] messages with him. I have a list of about 80 student names. On Friday I sent home a letter to parents informing them that I will take some action. The letters speaks to extra-curriculare [sic] activities and positions of leadership such as our Big Sib program and ARiSTA. I do not have a copy of the letter at home. Stan DOE administrative personnel:25 Tamika Matheson, High School Superintendent: Investigator Hughes interviewed Ms. Matheson, via telephone, on September 6, 2012. At that time Ms. Matheson explained that she has been the District 2 Superintendent since October 2, 2011. Ms. Matheson explained that she first learned that a Stuyvesant student had been caught cheating on a Regents exam when she received an email from Mr. Teitel on June
Stanley Teitel submitted his resignation from the Department in August of 2012, effective September 1, 2012, and, therefore, did not participate in an OSI interview.
Chancellor’s Office of Special Investigations 65 Court Street - Room 922 • Brooklyn, NY 11201 Telephone: 718 935 3800; Fax: 718 935 3931
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OSI Case #12-5848 18, 2012. During her interview, Ms. Matheson forwarded Investigator Hughes a copy of said email, which is transcribed below: From: Teitel Stanley (02M475) Sent: Monday, June 18, 2012 2:20 PM To: Matheson Tamika Subject: Re: Cheating Dear Ms. Matheson, Please call me as soon as you can. HURRY Stan Ms. Matheson told Investigator Hughes that she phoned Mr. Teitel “within an hour” of having received the above-transcribed email. At that time, Mr. Teitel apprised her that “he had received an email from a student [indicating] that another student was texting answers or pictures” of Regents exam questions. Upon explaining as such, Mr. Teitel told Ms. Matheson, “We are looking into it.” It was Ms. Matheson’s stated impression that by “we,” Mr. Teitel meant “him and his APO.” In reaction Mr. Teitel’s news, Ms. Matheson “spoke to him about cell phone protocol,” namely that, per DOE policy, students are not allowed to have cell phones during the school day. Ms. Matheson recalled Mr. Teitel telling her that Stuyvesant teachers had been “diligent and proactive” regarding cell phones. After hearing this, Ms. Matheson offered, “You know you’re going to have to report this.” Ms. Matheson acknowledged that she did not state to whom Mr. Teitel was to report the incident of student cheating, nor did she explain how he was supposed to make such a report. Upon questioning, Ms. Matheson told Investigator Hughes that she considered her comment about reporting to be a “strong recommendation” as opposed to a directive. She further explained that, because Mr. Teitel was a “veteran Principal,” at the time, she believed that he would have known to whom and how to report the incident. During her OSI interview, Ms. Matheson was asked to detail to whom she believed Mr. Teitel should have reported the incidence of student cheating. In response she stated, “If he [would have] asked, I would have had him call his Senior Field Counsel, Network Leader, the Division of Assessment and Academics, and to file an OORS report.” Ms. Matheson stated her belief that, after receiving the above-referenced email and holding a brief telephone conversation with Mr. Teitel on June 18, 2012, she did not interact with Mr. Teitel in any capacity until news of the Stuyvesant “cheating scandal” was covered in the New York City press on June 25, 2012, after which she participated in a conference call about the incident. According to Ms. Matheson, on June 25th at 6:46 PM, she was cc’d on an email that Mr. Teitel sent to Marge Feinberg, Deputy Press Secretary.26 Ms. Matheson could not recall the specific circumstances that prompted Mr.
26

A copy of the email that Ms. Matheson forwarded to Investigator Hughes is enclosed in this case file for reference.
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OSI Case #12-5848 Teitel to send the email, but told Investigator Hughes that it is “standard protocol” for Principals to communicate with Ms. Feinberg when information about their school appears in the press. Ms. Matheson stated that, that same evening, at 6:53 PM, Ms. Feinberg cc’d her on an email message that she sent to Mr. Teitel, which contained a link to the New York Daily News article mentioning Stuyvesant’s “cheating scandal.”27 Ms. Matheson reported that, in the days following June 25, 2012, she spoke with both Donald Conyers, Senior Supervising Superintendent, and Shael Suransky, Chief Academic Office, regarding that which she knew of this incident. She also participated in a conference call on which both Mr. Teitel and Ms. Zaharakis were participants. Ms. Matheson stated that, at some point following the incident under investigation, she and Stuyvesant Assistant Principal Eric Grossman were designated to interface with Stuyvesant parents regarding concerns, complaints, and/or inquiries that they had about this incident. Upon questioning, Ms. Matheson clarified that, after June 18, 2012, she did not follow-up with Mr. Teitel regarding what steps, if any, he took to report the occurrence of student cheating. Likewise, Mr. Teitel did not seek her counsel regarding any form of investigation into the matter of student cheating, nor did he ask for her input regarding any communication that he had with Stuyvesant parents regarding the incident under investigation. Despina Zaharakis, former Senior Executive Director, Strategic Initiatives/Student Systems: Investigator Hughes interviewed Ms. Zaharakis, via telephone, on July 12, 2012. At that time, she explained that she had learned of the “Stuyvesant scandal” “through the newspaper.” She estimated that she had read an online edition of an article released at approximately 4:00 AM on Tuesday, June 26, 2012. In response, during the morning of June 26, Ms. Zaharakis reached out to Stuyvesant’s Cluster Leader, Mr. Amundsen, who indicated that he “didn’t know anything about” the incident. Likewise, a “Cluster contact,” Thomas Fox, expressed that he had no knowledge of the incident. Ms. Zaharakis recalled that she contacted an individual affiliated with the Office of School and Youth Development (“OSYD”), who apprised her that “no OORS report had been filed” about the incident.28 Adina Lopatin, Deputy Chief Academic Officer, Performance: Investigators Boyles and Hughes interviewed Ms. Lopatin on July 19, 2012 at OSI. At that time, she explained that she had learned of the Stuyvesant “cheating scandal” when the New York Times made a press inquiry; it was Ms. Lopatin’s stated belief that the inquiry was made on Monday, June 25, 2012. Ms. Lopatin indicated that “no one” in her office had been apprised of this incident prior to this inquiry.

27 28

A copy of this email is included in this case file. An OORS report was filed on June 14, 2012, concerning an incident in which two students were caught cheating on a Physics exam – neither of the students mentioned in said report was Student A.
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OSI Case #12-5848 Upon request, she outlined that, “normally,” after a Principal learns that a student has cheated on a standardized test, “the Principal reports it to the Borough Assessment Director and to the State.” Ms. Lopatin detailed that, “part of the [Borough Assessment Director’s] job is to help with student-on-student cheating.” Ms. Lopatin stated that Principals are educated about this policy through a “handbook” that the Office of Assessment issues at the beginning of every school year. Regular updates are also provided to Principals through the “Principal’s Portal.”29 Ms. Lopatin further explained that Principals are mandated to “follow SED guidelines.” In Ms. Lopatin’s estimation, the SED guidelines are “parallel” to those created by the DOE with regard to student cheating. Ms. Lopatin stated that, as per both DOE and SED guidelines, “attempting to cheat is grounds to invalidate” a student’s exam grade. Ms. Lopatin stated that she participated in a conference call on June 26, 2012 to discuss with Mr. Teitel how he had reacted to Student A’s having cheated on the LOTE exam. Ms. Lopatin provided Investigators Boyles and Hughes with the notes that she took during this call.30 The following individuals also participated in the conference call: Ms. Amundsen, Ms. Zhang, Ms. Zaharakis, Mr. Mull,31 Ms. Damesek, and Mr. Teitel. Ms. Lopatin recalled that Mr. Teitel had shared with the callers that he had first learned of alleged student cheating when he received an email on June 16, 2012 “from a student saying a student was cheating and sending exams to other students.” Mr. Teitel explained that he then called an “emergency cabinet meeting” on June 18, at which time it was determined that a “special proctor” would be placed in the classroom in which Student A was to take his LOTE exam. Mr. Teitel told the callers that Student A was caught using his cell phone during the administration of the exam. Mr. Teitel then personally responded to the classroom to escort Student A from the room. It was at this time that Ms. Damesek got involved in the matter, as she assisted Mr. Teitel in “looking through” Student A’s phone. Ms. Damesek then began taking notes regarding specific text messages that she found in Student A’s phone. According to that which was discussed during the conference call, it was discovered that Ms. Damesek recorded the names of 69 students whom she determined to be “involved in the texting.” According to Ms. Lopatin’s notes, “12 additional students did not respond to [Student A’s] text.” All information was recorded on a spreadsheet. Ms. Lopatin’s notes also document, “In the case of the LOTE the student took [and sent] pictures of the LOTE essay question to two other students. The students wrote essays and posted pictures on the student’s Facebook account. Also pictures of Scantron sheets and answer choices for the Physics, US [History], and English Regents and in class finals were being exchanged among students taking the exam during the exam. The principal does not know what these pictures were of or specifically which students were involved in which exams because the data were [sic] erased.” Mr. Teitel also told callers that, at
29

According to the DOE website, the Principal’s Portal “is an online tool that allows leaders to quickly and easily find the tools, resources, and systems needed to make a meaningful improvement in their students’ achievement.” Ms. Lopatin later provided OSI with a copy of a Principal’s Portal post dated June 8 [2012] which outlines “June Regents Exams and RCTs Update: Information from NYSED.” A copy of this post is included in this case file for reference. 30 A copy of Ms. Lopatin’s notes is enclosed in this case file for reference. It should also be noted that, at the time of her OSI interview, Ms. Lopatin also provided OSI with copies of the student interview questionnaires and written statements. 31 Mr. Mull has been identified as Niket Mull, Executive Director, Office of Assessment, Division of Academics, Performance and Support.
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OSI Case #12-5848 some point during the afternoon of June 18, he had contacted Ms. Matheson to apprise her of the situation. Mr. Teitel then explained to the participants of the conference call that, per his request, Father A had appeared at Stuyvesant on June 18, 2012, at which time he permitted the school to keep Student A’s cell phone. However, according to Mr. Teitel, all of the data was erased from the phone soon after Student A left the school building. Mr. Teitel then told the conference call participants of his decision to send a letter home to the parents of the 69 students identified as having received messages from Student A. The letter informed the parents that their children would “not be able to participate in after school activities” as a result of their participation in cheating. The Principal also told the members of the conference call that “proctors have not reported that they saw students using phones,” and that there are regular announcements made to students reminding them that cell phones are prohibited during the administration of exams. According to Ms. Lopatin’s notes, Mr. Teitel had claimed, “If a proctor had seen a student using a phone they [sic] would have reported it.” During the conference call, Mr. Teitel told the participants that, during the grading of the Physics exam, teachers discovered that “students wrote the same sentences on exams,” prompting Mr. Teitel to invalidate the “4 affected exams.” Mr. Teitel shared with the callers that Student A was one of the students whose Physics exam was invalidated on these grounds. According to Ms. Lopatin, at the conclusion of the conference call, Mr. Teitel explained that, during the morning of June 26, he wrote a letter to the SED’s Steve Katz. Mr. Teitel also claimed to be “in communication” with Mr. Katz regarding the testing improprieties. Mr. Teitel stated his belief that an OORS report was filed regarding the Regents improprieties; he expressed that he did not need to contact SCI as no allegations of adult misconduct had been made. Mr. Teitel concluded the call by indicating that students had “not yet [been] questioned” about having received text messages during the administration of standardized exams. It was at this time that Mr. Teitel was instructed to immediately begin conducting student interviews. Ms. Lopatin’s notes reflect, “Principal cannot yet know whether students cheated. Can begin talking to students today and tomorrow but may not be able to talk to all students today and tomorrow.” Ms. Lopatin recalled that Mr. Teitel “seemed to have questions” about the student interviews, including expressing his concern that students “aren’t just going to tell [him]” what kind of cheating occurred. Ms. Lopatin explained that, during the conference call, Mr. Teitel was counseled to “ask [the students] what their experience was.” She clarified that, while Mr. Teitel was instructed to conduct an investigation, he did not receive any explicit guidance regarding “how to investigate.” Ms. Lopatin stated that it was determined that, on June 27, 2012, Mr. Mull would report to the school to assist Mr. Teitel with the investigation. Ms. Lopatin told Investigators Boyles and Hughes that, according to the literature that the DOE and the SED provides to Principals regarding student cheating, when cheating is suspected on a Regents or city-wide exam, the “Principal must do an
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OSI Case #12-5848 investigation.” She outlined, “The SED requires investigation.” After acknowledging as such, Ms. Lopatin offered that, to her knowledge, the scope or the manner in which this investigation is to be conducted is “not spelled out in the Reg[ulation]s.” Upon further questioning, Ms. Lopatin indicated that neither the DOE nor SED guidelines are explicit about when a Principal must report student cheating. She offered, “I don’t think he exactly violated any rules, but it would have been best to notify us more quickly.” Ms. Lopatin continued by stating that “a week should not have gone by before” Mr. Teitel made an affirmative decision that student cheating had occurred. Ms. Lopatin relayed her belief that, in sending a letter home to the parents of 69 students, Mr. Teitel had “publicly” notified individuals of the cheating without first contacting the appropriate DOE personnel about the incident. She further offered, “Our concern during the conference call was that he had taken action regarding revoking privileges without actually investigating what had happened with the test.” Ms. Lopatin offered that it was the Principal’s “position that, as the phone was erased, he couldn’t investigate” any further than that which had already been done. Ms. Lopatin also told Investigators Boyles and Hughes that, in her opinion, “The Principal knew [the cheating] spanned across exams, but not which students received texts on which day.” Following her OSI interview, Ms. Lopatin emailed Investigators Boyles and Hughes information that had been released by the SED to Principals of “Public, Nonpublic, and Charter Schools” in a letter dated June 2012. On page five of this seven page communication, the SED mandates “…the principal must report…in writing” “[a]ll student infractions of the Department’s policy prohibiting the use of cell phones and other communication devices during State exams.”32 Niket Mull, Executive Director, Office of Assessment, Division of Academics, Performance and Support (“DAPS”): Mr. Mull was interviewed by Investigators Boyles and Hughes on July 17, 2012 at 49-51 Chambers Street. Following his interview, he provided OSI with documentation; when relevant, said paperwork is summarized and integrated into Mr. Mull’s interview summary.33 Mr. Mull first learned of the Stuyvesant “cheating scandal” on June 25, 2012, when he received a series of emails that had been forwarded to him by Ms. Zaharakis. The initial email in the string was written by DOE Press Secretary Erin Hughes, at 1:49 PM on Monday, June 25, and reads as follows: Hello, We received a call from a NY Times reporter who spoke to a parent at Stuyvesant HS about an alleged cheating incident involving possibly 100 students (11th graders?) and organized text messaging. She said that the students used their phones to share/text answers to each other during a language exam that took place on or around June 18.
32 33

A copy of this letter can be found in this case file. Copies of all documents that Mr. Mull provided are enclosed in this case file.
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OSI Case #12-5848 According to the parent and the reporter, several students were disciplined and one was expelled. The discipline included a letter that went out to those that were caught from the principle [sic] saying that they would not be able to leave campus for lunch next year. Do we have any info on this incident? Thanks, Erin Hughes, Press Secretary Mr. Mull stated that, at the time, he was unaware of the incident that Ms. Hughes referenced. He forwarded Ms. Zaharakis’ message to members of his team, asking if anyone had “heard of the cheating.” According to Mr. Mull, neither Grace Pepe, Director of Assessment Operations, nor Marie Busiello, Borough Assessment Implementation Director, had heard of any such incident. Mr. Mull explained that his next involvement in the “Stuyvesant case” was his participation in a June 27 conference call; Mr. Amundsen, Ms. Zaharakis, Ms. Lopatin, Ms. Damesek, and Mr. Teitel were also participants. During this call, the Principal was asked “what happened?” and “on which exams?” In response, Mr. Teitel explained that he had received an “anonymous tip that somebody was cheating” and had a “plan [to cheat on] the LOTE.” In response, Mr. Teitel said that he scheduled a cabinet meeting for the morning of June 18, “to create a plan to put a diligent proctor in the alleged cheater’s classroom.” The Principal told the conference call participants that, “part way through the exam, the proctor sees [Student A] with his cell phone out.” Following this, per SED protocol, Student A was removed from the examination classroom and was permitted to finish his exam in the Principal’s office. While Student A finished his exam, Mr. Teitel stated that he asked Ms. Damesek to “look through” the student’s phone, at which time, she “starts to see other texts” that were sent “prior to the LOTE exam.” To the best of Mr. Mull’s recollection, Mr. Teitel estimated that there were “approximately 80 or 81 phone numbers in [Student A’s] phone, but only 69 kids [had] responded to [Student A’s] email/text [including] two kids [who] wrote answers and sent it [sic] back [to Student A].” Mr. Mull recalled that Mr. Teitel had explained to the conference call participants that he had “offered [Ms. Damesek] per session [money] to investigate data off the phone” but that, “all of a sudden, the data disappeared.” Mr. Mull clarified that, according to Mr. Teitel, the data disappeared soon after Student A and his father, who had reported to the school at the Principal’s request, left the building. According to Mr. Mull, participating members of the conference call asked Mr. Teitel whether he had sent a letter home to Stuyvesant parents about the incident. The Principal confirmed that he has sent the letter to the parents of the 69 students in question. When he was asked why he did not notify or engage in conversation with the SED prior to mailing the letter, Mr. Teitel explained, “I’m still doing my investigation. We’re still figuring out who cheated on what exam.” To Mr. Mull’s recollection, it was then determined that a few Central DOE staff members would report to Stuyvesant the following day to assist Mr. Teitel with his investigation.

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OSI Case #12-5848 Mr. Mull stated that, during a separate phone call on June 27 with Superintendent Matheson, he learned that, at some point on June 18 after Student A had been caught, Mr. Teitel had called Ms. Matheson to apprise her of the situation. Mr. Mull admitted to Investigators Boyles and Hughes that he could not recall whether Ms. Matheson had relayed what her response to Mr. Teitel had been. Mr. Mull expressed that, during their June 27 conference call, Mr. Teitel had made no mention of having called Ms. Matheson on June 18. On June 27, 2012, Mr. Mull appeared at Stuyvesant alongside of Rachael Teitel, Office of Legal Services,34 and Karen Profenna from the CFN. Mr. Mull stated that, while at the school, they interacted with both Mr. Teitel and Ms. Damesek. It was Mr. Mull’s understanding that he, Ms. Teitel, and Ms. Profenna were present at the school “to try to figure out what happened.” He recalled that he and Ms. Teitel “sat in on two student interviews, one at a time.” Mr. Mull stated that he, personally, did not ask any questions, but, instead, “remained quiet” during the student interviews. He recalled that, while Mr. Teitel was interviewing an unidentified student, the Principal had reprimanded the student, “If you did it on this exam, you deserve to have your exam invalidated.” He stated all student responses were recorded on a questionnaire and in written statements prepared by each student. In reviewing the student statements, Mr. Mull learned that “kids mostly talked about [efforts to cheat on the] Physics, some LOTE, a few [U.S.] History [exams].” Mr. Mull stated that, because the “first capture of data [completed by Stuyvesant staff members] wasn’t specific enough to evidence when someone responded [to Student A], and there [exists] no tracking regarding when kids left the exam, it cannot be determined if a student who opened his or her text was finished with [his or her] exam [at that time].” Before Mr. Mull left Stuyvesant on June 27, he was provided with copies of all of the questionnaires and the student statements. Mr. Mull told Investigators Boyles and Hughes that, after he left the school, he had “no direct contact” with Mr. Teitel. Robin Greenfield, Deputy Counsel, Office of Legal Services: Investigator Hughes interviewed Ms. Greenfield, via telephone, on July 26, 2012. Ms. Greenfield explained that, under the direction of Courtenaye Jackson-Chase, General Counsel, she had called Mr. Teitel on June 26, 2012.35 The purpose of Ms. Greenfield’s call was to determine whether the Principal had taken any statements regarding the alleged cheating incident. According to Ms. Greenfield, during that conversation, Mr. Teitel told her that “[he] had not intended to take statements.” Ms. Greenfield acknowledged to Investigator Hughes, “He took statements only at our [the Legal Office’s] request.” During their conversation, Mr. Teitel told Ms. Greenfield that “this whole incident” began after he received an email from Student G indicating that Student A had been cheating on Regents exams and had planned to cheat again. Mr. Teitel indicated
No relation to Principal Teitel. It should be noted that Ms. Greenfield forwarded the notes that she took during her conversation with Mr. Teitel to Investigator Hughes; copies of these notes are enclosed in this case file.
35 34

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OSI Case #12-5848 that he responded to this news by calling a cabinet meeting prior to the administration of the LOTE exam, which resulted in his being able to “alert” a proctor “to watch [Student A].” After the proctor observed Student A using his phone during the exam, the student was removed from the examination room, and, according to Ms. Greenfield, he was “possibly” allowed to continue the exam. At the Principal’s request, Student A relinquished his cell phone; Father A was also called to the school. Mr. Teitel told Ms. Greenfield that, after Student A was removed from his examination room, two separate students sent LOTE exam answers to Student A’s phone. At Mr. Teitel’s request, Ms. Damesek “wrote down the names, texts, comments, and possibly the phone numbers” of those students with whom Student A had been in contact. According to Mr. Teitel, Ms. Damesek “did not have the date or time [of the correspondences] written down.” As Ms. Greenfield relayed to Investigator Hughes, “As the Assistant Principal [Ms. Damesek] starts to record this, Dad [Father A] arrives, [Student A] leaves, and the phone gets wiped” of data. Ms. Greenfield acknowledged that she had asked Mr. Teitel “why he didn’t take statements from the kids suspected” of cheating, to which he responded that he “didn’t feel like [he] had proof.” Ms. Greenfield apprised Investigator Hughes, “His remedy was to send out a letter.” Ms. Greenfield also added, “The Principal told me [that] he told Dad [Father A] to get a safety transfer.” Ms. Greenfield’s notes indicate that, upon learning this, she told Mr. Teitel that a safety transfer would be “inappropriate.” In response, Mr. Teitel apparently remarked that Student A “might get hurt if he stayed at Stuyvesant.” Upon request, Ms. Greenfield confirmed that Mr. Teitel did not seek her advice or counsel regarding either the letter that he sent home to parents or his decision to recommend a safety transfer for Student A. Toward the end of their telephone conversation, Ms. Greenfield instructed Mr. Teitel to “take [student] statements.” She explained to Investigator Hughes that she and Ms. Lopatin had “sent people” to Stuyvesant “to ensure that statements were taken.” Ms. Greenfield clarified that Rachael Teitel was the member of the Legal Office who was sent to the school. Ms. Greenfield recalled telling Ms. Teitel to make certain that student statements were taken. Upon questioning, she confirmed that “there was no conversation” – either with Principal Teitel or Ms. Teitel – “about being more prescriptive with regard to taking [student] statements.” Ms. Greenfield acknowledged that Ms. Teitel and various members of the Legal Office staff later reviewed the student statements and “learned that they were sparse.” Ms. Greenfield stated, “We reviewed [the statements] to determine who and what to suspend [for], and who and what needed to retake [the Regents exams].” Ms. Greenfield stated that, after the statements were obtained, she did “not have any follow-up conversation” with Mr. Teitel.

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OSI Case #12-5848 Shael Suransky, Chief Academic Officer, DOE: Investigator Hughes interviewed Mr. Suransky, via telephone, on July 12, 2012. At that time, he stated that, as of the date of his OSI interview, he had not spoken directly with Mr. Teitel about the incident under investigation. Mr. Suransky detailed that he first learned of the alleged student cheating on June 25, 2012, when a member of the Press Office sent an email indicating that The New York Times had made an inquiry into the alleged cheating at Stuyvesant.36 Mr. Suransky stated that he then spoke with Ms. Jackson-Chase; Veronica Conforme, Chief Information Officer; and Chancellor Walcott regarding “how to respond to the press.” According to Mr. Suransky, after their conversation, it was determined that members of Stuyvesant’s support Network, as well as a representative from the Legal Office, should “report to the school to try to compile information regarding what to tell the press, and what to do with the tests.” Mr. Suransky explained that, “initially,” he and his colleagues “thought that Mr. Teitel” had not apprised anyone at the DOE of the student cheating; he stated that they “later learned that the Principal had told his Superintendent” about the incident. Upon questioning, Mr. Suransky detailed that it was Supervising Superintendent, Donald Conyers, who had confirmed with Ms. Matheson that Mr. Teitel had, in fact, made her aware of the situation. Mr. Suransky told Investigator Hughes that, during a conversation with Mr. Conyers, Ms. Matheson relayed that, at the time of incident, she had instructed Mr. Teitel to “report” the student cheating. Following Mr. Conyers’ conversation with Ms. Matheson, Mr. Suransky spoke with the Superintendent himself.37 During this conversation, Ms. Matheson confirmed that she had instructed Mr. Teitel to “call in” the incident of student cheating. Mr. Suransky did not recall whether he had asked Ms. Matheson to clarify where or whom Mr. Teitel was to “call.” He did remember Ms. Matheson telling him that, because Mr. Teitel was “an experienced Principal,” she was confident that he would know how to handle the situation. Mr. Suransky told Investigator Hughes that, to the best of his knowledge, Ms. Matheson was the only individual whom Mr. Teitel had made aware of the cheating – he had not reported or discussed the matter with any other DOE or SED official. Upon questioning, Mr. Suransky stated that, in his opinion, Mr. Teitel should have notified both the Borough Assessment Office and the SED about that which had occurred. Mr. Suransky surmised, “Mr. Teitel didn’t go beyond reporting it to the Superintendent.” By acting as such, he “failed to address [the incident] thoroughly,” and, likewise, failed to gather the evidence – including “the times [that] the texts were sent” – that would be needed to determine “which exams to invalidate.”

Mr. Suransky forwarded the email in question to Investigator Hughes; a copy of that correspondence is enclosed in this case file. 37 Mr. Suransky clarified that he did not seek out Ms. Matheson; rather, he encountered her at a Superintendent’s meeting held on June 28, 2012.
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OSI Case #12-5848 Donald Conyers, Senior Supervising Superintendent: Mr. Conyers was interviewed, via telephone, by Investigators Boyles, Hughes, and Small on July 25, 2012. At the beginning of his interview, Mr. Conyers emailed Investigator Boyles a memorandum, sent on June 1, 2012 by Grace Pepe, Directory of Assessment Operations.38 He told the undersigned investigators that said memorandum was, in part, designed to “alert Principals what a proctor should do” if a student is caught using a cell phone during an exam. Additionally, the memorandum outlined “the expectation of what Principals should do and [who] they should report [allegations of student cheating] to.” An excerpt from the memo in question “DAPS MEMORANDUM #12” (page 4):39 For Principals and Proctors: Any student observed to be using any communication device while taking a State examination must be directed to turn it off and put the device away immediately. To allow for all possible outcomes of procedural due process, the student should be allowed to complete the examination. The incident must be reported promptly to the school principal. If the principal determines that the student was using a communication device during the test administration, the student’s test must be invalidated. No score may be calculated for that student. The incident must be reported in writing to the Office of State Assessment, as is the case for all testing irregularities, misadministration, or other violations of the State testing policy and procedures. During his OSI interview, Mr. Conyers offered his understanding of the abovementioned memorandum, indicating that a proctor is “supposed to respond to a student [who is thought to be cheating, and is]… supposed to determine if cheating occurred.” If, in fact, it is determined that a student cheated during the administration of a standardized test, the Principal is to “notify the SED, their [sic] CFN Assessment Liaison, and the Superintendent.” Mr. Conyers admitted, “I don’t know if, in the memo, a timeframe [to report] is written.” He further offered, “You’d think it’d be akin to the OORS 24-hour timeframe.” Mr. Conyers confirmed that he had spoken with Ms. Matheson about the incident under investigation. Mr. Conyers stated that, per Mr. Suransky, he called Ms. Matheson who then apprised him that, after Mr. Teitel had notified her that a student had used his cell phone on an exam, she “told him to report it and he said he would.” Ms. Matheson explained to Mr. Conyers that “[she] didn’t follow up with [Mr. Teitel] because he’s a senior Principal” and, therefore, should be familiar with the appropriate rules and regulations. Mr. Conyers advised the undersigned investigators that he was “satisfied with [Ms. Matheson’s] answer.”

A copy of said memorandum, “Memo #12,” is enclosed in this case file. It should be noted that, according to Ms. Pepe, “Memo #12” applies to the administration of the LOTE exam. Despite the fact that the LOTE is a city-wide test (as opposed to a SED exam), a student’s performance LOTE “is used [to earn an] advanced Regents diploma.” As such, the rules and regulations outlined in “Memo #12” govern the proper protocol during the administration of the LOTE.
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OSI Case #12-5848 At this point during his OSI interview, Mr. Conyers was asked questions regarding his assessment of Mr. Teitel’s behavior following the Principal’s receipt of an email alerting him to possible student cheating. Mr. Conyers explained that, “As Principal, [he] would have alerted all faculty [members] to ensure that they were aware of the allegation.” He also stated that he should have taken steps to “notify students [and] proactively address” the rules by “globally telling all students” about the cell phone rules in place. Mr. Conyers expressed that, in meeting with “all” students taking the test in question, he would have avoided “targeting” Student A. He emphasized that Student A should have been treated as “innocent until proven guilty.” Mr. Conyers did acknowledge that he likely would have met with Student A about the “suspicion” or “rumor” that he was going to cheat prior to his taking the LOTE exam. Mr. Conyers told the undersigned investigators that, had he been in Mr. Teitel’s position, he would have acted to “prevent” Student A from cheating, as opposed to creating a system for “catching” him in the act. Mr. Conyers continued, “As Principal, he has a responsibility to ensure [that] no cheating occurs during tests.”

Stuyvesant personnel – Assistant Principals: Jennifer Suri, Assistant Principal of Social Studies: Ms. Suri was interviewed by Investigator Small, via telephone, on July 27, 2012. At that time, she confirmed that she had attended a cabinet meeting on June 18, 2012, which was called in an effort to “discuss what to do about the email” that Mr. Teitel had received, indicating that a student had planned to cheat on an upcoming exam. According to Ms. Suri, Mr. Tillman “caught” the student in question. Following this, a letter “was to be drawn up, informing parents of the students” who had been involved in possible cheating of the disciplinary action that would be taken. This was, in sum and substance, all that Ms. Suri reported to know about the situation under investigation. Raymond Wheeler, Assistant Principal of Music, Art, and Technology Education: On August 10, 2012, Mr. Wheeler appeared at OSI alongside Robert Colon, CSA Representative; he was interviewed by Investigators Boyles, Hughes, and Small. Mr. Wheeler stated that he first learned that a student had cheated on a Regents exam during a meeting held “during Regents week.” Mr. Wheeler remembered that Mr. Teitel had called a cabinet meeting during which he “mentioned an email he [had] received from a student [that asserted that] a student was cheating in class.” It was Mr. Wheeler’s stated impression that the Principal was sharing this information with the Stuyvesant cabinet in order to address the question, “How are we going to handle it?” Mr. Wheeler told the undersigned investigators that the “plan” was to “catch the student cheating.” When asked what steps were identified in order to affect said plan, Mr. Wheeler admitted, “It wasn’t concerning my department, so I wasn’t really paying attention.” He did recall that Mr. Teitel and Ms. Damesek were leading the conversation about the plan to “catch” the student in question. He could not recall whether minutes

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OSI Case #12-5848 were taken during this cabinet meeting, but offered that the Principal’s secretary is responsible for taking minutes and that she is “usually” present during cabinet meetings. Mr. Wheeler reported that, “a day or so after the first cabinet meeting,” a second meeting was called to discuss the matter of a student cheating. Mr. Wheeler was unable to identify the day of the week or the date on which said meeting took place, but confirmed that it was “before the cheating hit the newspaper.” Upon questioning, Mr. Wheeler confirmed that, to his recollection, “no meeting was [ever] called” to discuss any previous incidents of cheating. When asked about the impetus for this second cabinet meeting, Mr. Wheeler offered his belief that the meeting was called so that Mr. Teitel could “let us [administrators] know what had occurred and what steps were taken to identify students [who cheated].” According to Mr. Wheeler, during this second meeting, Mr. Teitel announced that “it was discovered that [Student A] was taking pictures of a [Regents] exam and sending them [the photos] out.” Mr. Wheeler remembered that Mr. Teitel notified the cabinet that, as “they had confiscated the phone,” “some names” of the students who received Student A’s texts had been recorded. At this point during his OSI interview, Mr. Wheeler confirmed that he is the Assistant Principal of “Technology Education,” and that he supervises Stuyvesant’s “tech staff.” Upon questioning, he indicated that he was never personally asked to assist in retrieving information from Student A’s cell phone, and further offered that, to his knowledge, “none of his guys were asked” to provide either their assistance or their opinion regarding how best to obtain information from Student A’s phone. Mr. Wheeler confirmed that, during the second cabinet meeting, it was announced that there were “about 70 student names identified” as having received Student A’s texts; he was admittedly uncertain “how they identified the 70.” Upon questioning, Mr. Wheeler indicated that “there was no talk regarding what involvement the kids had” in Student A’s attempts to cheat on the exam. However, there was discussion regarding “what to do with the students involved.” Although he did not personally participate in the discussion, Mr. Wheeler recalled that some of his colleagues suggested that the roughly 70 students in question should have certain “privileges taken away,” such as lunch privileges and extra-curricular activities. To Mr. Wheeler’s knowledge, “nothing official [was] decided” with regard to what, if any, punishment was to be given. Mr. Wheeler did not recall any discussion regarding whether Student A should be transferred out of Stuyvesant. This second cabinet meeting was the last time that Mr. Wheeler was privy to any conversation about Student A and/or the “cheating scandal.” When asked if there was any discussion about the incident after the story was revealed by the New York City press, Mr. Wheeler – a 10-month employee – acknowledged, “I don’t even think I was in school at that time.”

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OSI Case #12-5848 Scott Thomas, Assistant Principal of Physics and Chemistry: Mr. Thomas appeared at OSI on September 27, 2012, at which time he was interviewed by Investigator Hughes in the presence of Robert Colon, CSA Representative. At that time, Mr. Thomas explained that the 2012-2013 school year will be his 8th year at Stuyvesant; he has been an Assistant Principal for six years. Upon questioning, Mr. Thomas told Investigator Hughes that he could recall a “couple” of instances during his tenure as the Assistant Principal of Physics in which a Stuyvesant student was caught cheating on a Physics Regents exam. Mr. Thomas explained that, in these instances, he immediately notified Mr. Teitel of the incident. Thereafter, he placed the exams in question into a folder, labeled the folder with the student’s name(s) and identification number(s), and brought the folder to Mr. Teitel, who would “take care of it.” Mr. Thomas explained that these were the steps that Mr. Teitel had asked him to take any time a student was caught cheating.40 He further indicated that he was never asked to notify any party – SED or otherwise – of any instance of cheating. Mr. Thomas stated that, during the June 2012 administration of the Regents exams, a new statewide policy was put into place, requiring schools to darken an “invalidated” bubble on the Scantron answer sheets of those students who had been caught cheating during an exam. Per policy, after that bubble was darkened, the Principal had to sign next to the marking to confirm the school’s decision to invalidate the exam. The Scantron sheets are then to be “taken to the programming office” to be re-run through the Scantron machine. When asked about the June 2012 Physics Regents exam, Mr. Thomas explained that, during the Wednesday, June 12, 2012 administration of the exam, “a proctor caught two students cheating.”41 Said proctor, whom Mr. Thomas did not identify, apprised him of the incident at the end of the school day on June 12th. On June 13th, Mr. Thomas darkened the “invalidated” bubble on the Scantron answer sheets of the exams in question, placed the exams into an envelope, labeled the envelope as required, and brought the packet to Mr. Teitel, who then signed both of the Scantron answer sheets. Mr. Thomas confirmed that he then took both Scantron sheets to the program office to be officially invalidated by the Scantron machine. After returning the envelope to Mr. Teitel, Mr. Thomas took no further steps regarding this matter. When asked whether he knew anything about Student A’s having cheated during the June 2012 administration of the Regents exams, Mr. Thomas confirmed that he did. He explained that he first heard of the cheating in an email that Mr. Teitel sent to Stuyvesant administrators “during the weekend before June 17 [2012].” According to Mr. Thomas, Mr. Teitel wrote the email to notify his cabinet that there would be an “emergency meeting on [Monday,] June 18 [2012].” During that cabinet meeting, Mr. Teitel told administrators that, over the weekend, he had received an email from a student “accusing [Student A] of cheating on [the] Physics and maybe other Regents [exams].” Mr. Thomas stated that the email mentioned that Student A had “used or will use his cell
Mr. Thomas could not recall the student or the school year during which the first incident of cheating on the Physics Regents exam occurred. 41 Mr. Thomas clarified that neither student in question was Student A.
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OSI Case #12-5848 phone” to cheat. According to Mr. Thomas, during the meeting, Mr. Teitel asked him to “look into” the allegation that Student A had cheated on the Physics exam. The Principal also “said something about a Dean going to see [Student A] during a test [that was going to be] administered that afternoon.”42 Mr. Thomas admitted that he was not sure whether the Dean in question was to watch Student A take the test, or to “interview him about the test.” At the conclusion of the cabinet meeting, Mr. Thomas spoke with Mr. Teitel about what steps he needed to take to “look into” Student A’s Regents exam. According to Mr. Thomas, Mr. Teitel instructed him to “pull the file on the exams and look at [Student A’s] exam and compare it with the student sitting next to him.” Immediately after this conversation, Mr. Thomas reviewed the Physics exams. As students taking the Physics Regents exam sit in alphabetical order, Mr. Thomas was able to determine that Student A was seated in “seat 2” while taking the exam. As such, Mr. Thomas compared Student A’s multiple choice and short-answer responses to the students seated in “seat 1” and “seat 3.” According to Mr. Thomas, Student A’s exam “appeared to be exactly the same” as the student assigned to “seat 1,” both with regard to the multiple choice and short answer responses. Mr. Thomas shared that even the language that the students used evidenced “exact matches.” The exam belonging to the student assigned to “seat 3” did not evidence any similarities. After making this discovery, Mr. Thomas called Mr. Teitel, who requested that the Assistance Principal bring the exams in question to his office. Per policy, Mr. Thomas placed the two exams in a folder, labeled the folder with the students’ names and identification numbers, and brought them to Mr. Teitel. Additionally, per the 2012 statewide policy, he also darkened the “invalidated” bubble on both students’ Scantron answer sheets. According to Mr. Thomas, Mr. Teitel signed both Scantron sheets, after which they were taken to the school’s programming office to be re-run through the Scantron machine. Following this, Mr. Thomas returned all relevant examination paperwork to Mr. Teitel. When asked, Mr. Thomas indicated that Mr. Teitel did not indicate what he was going to do with the two Regents exams in question. Mr. Thomas stated that there was a “second cabinet meeting” held, during which Mr. Teitel made mention of Student A’s having cheated; Mr. Thomas did not recall the subject areas of the exams in question. It was Mr. Thomas’ stated belief that the meeting was held on Friday, June 22, 2012. According to Mr. Thomas, during this meeting, Mr. Teitel “mentioned that they had found a cell phone on [Student A] and found evidence that he had cheated.” Mr. Thomas acknowledged that he could not recall the specific nature of the conversation that followed, although he did remember that “someone” mentioned that 70 students were involved in possible cheating; he further recalled that “several cell phones” were mentioned. Mr. Thomas told Investigator Hughes that he was “never involved in conversations about disciplinary action,” and was unaware of what, if any, punishment the students in question received.

42

The exam in question is the LOTE exam.
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OSI Case #12-5848 Elizabeth Fong, Assistant Principal of Biology/Geo-Science: Ms. Fong appeared at OSI on August 15, 2012, where she was interviewed by Investigators Hughes and Small in the presence of Mr. Colon. At that time, she explained that she had initially learned that a Stuyvesant student had cheated on a standardized test at an “emergency cabinet meeting” called by Mr. Teitel. Ms. Fong admitted that she was uncertain of the date of said meeting, but did remember that it was held “during Regents.” She stated that there was “only one item on the agenda:” the cheating “scandal.” To the best of Ms. Fong’s recollection, Mr. Teitel called the cabinet meeting to “let us know what happened… [that] a student had used a phone to photograph questions on the Spanish city-wide final.” When asked, Ms. Fong admitted that she could not recall how this cabinet meeting ending, stating, “That was it.” Upon questioning, she stated that she could not recall attending any June 2012 cabinet meeting held before the administration of the LOTE exam during which an allegation of possible student cheating was discussed. When asked whether she was aware of what, if any, disciplinary action was taken against Student A, Ms. Fong recalled, “During the final cabinet meeting, the Principal mentioned suspending [Student A].” Ms. Fong did not recall hearing Mr. Teitel – or any administrator – discuss or suggest Student A’s transfer from Stuyvesant, but did remember that there was some discussion about “what other school he might attend.” When asked if there was also discussion regarding what, if any, disciplinary action would be taken against the other Stuyvesant students, Ms. Fong explained, “I believe there were other students involved; I don’t know the number,” before offering her recollection that these students faced having their “lunch and extra-curricular privileges taken away.” She did not recall hearing any mention of how the students in question were going to be apprised of such punishment. Ms. Fong told Investigators Hughes and Small that she has been an Assistant Principal at Stuyvesant for 11 years. To her recollection, the above-mentioned “emergency cabinet meeting” was the first ever cabinet meeting that was called specifically to address a student cheating on a Regents exam. She could not recall whether meeting minutes were taken, but explained that the Principal’s secretary “usually” takes minutes during all cabinet meetings. Arlene Ubieta, Assistant Principal of World Languages: Ms. Ubieta was interviewed on August 10, 2012 by Investigators Boyles, Hughes, and Small, in the presence of Mr. Colon. At the beginning of her OSI interview, Ms. Ubieta clarified that June 2012 was the first time that Stuyvesant had given the LOTE exam. She stated that its administration began at 12:30 PM on Monday, June 18, 2012. According to Ms. Ubieta, at 8:00 AM on June 18, Principal Teitel called a cabinet meeting, during which he “shared that he [had] received an email from a student who claimed [that] another student had cheated and planned to cheat [again] on the LOTE and health exam.” According to Ms. Ubieta, after making this announcement, Mr. Teitel “held a discussion with the cabinet regarding whether this was true.” Ms. Ubieta recalled that a portion of her colleagues had raised concerns that the administration should not
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OSI Case #12-5848 “jump to conclusions,” as the email in question had provided no concrete evidence to implicate Student A. When asked if a course of action was determined during the meeting, Ms. Ubieta explained, “We decided the best way was to catch him [the student] in the act.” When asked for clarification, Ms. Ubieta reported that Mr. Teitel made the decision to “catch” Student A, and “no one objected.” Ms. Ubieta stated that she did not directly participate in catching Student A cheating. Before the cabinet meeting’s end, she supplied Mr. Teitel with the names of the two proctors assigned to Student A’s testing room; after some discussion, it was determined that teacher Daniel Tillman would be assigned as an “extra proctor” in Student A’s room.43 Following the morning meeting, Ms. Ubieta “prepped the LOTE exams in the office.” She stated that, during the administration of the exam, she was not made aware of whether Student A had been caught cheating. However, at an undetermined point in time while the students were taking their exams, Mr. Teitel’s secretary contacted her, requesting that a teacher report to Mr. Teitel’s office in order to provide testing dictation. She stated that no explanation was given regarding why a staff member was needed in this way. Ms. Ubieta told the undersigned investigators that Mr. Teitel “later” told her that, after he had gotten caught cheating, Student A was removed from a classroom and made to finish his LOTE exam in the Principal’s office, thus requiring Student A’s need for a teacher to read the dictation section of the exam to him.44 Upon questioning, Ms. Ubieta confirmed that Student A’s test had been returned to her to grade along with the exams of those students who had been assigned to Student A’s Spanish class. Student A’s test was then graded. When asked, Ms. Ubieta offered her belief that Student A’s Spanish teacher later told her that “[Student A] failed the test” – not because he had been caught cheating, but because he had “done bad work.” According to Ms. Ubieta, during the morning of June 19, 2012, Mr. Teitel called a second cabinet meeting, during which he apprised the staff that Student A had been caught cheating. The Principal further detailed that Ms. Damesek had “gone through [Student A’s] phone and identified students and comments that were said” in electronic conversation with the student. Mr. Teitel also told his staff that he had met with Student A’s father “and mentioned [that] he’d send a letter home to students [who were] listed on [Student A’s] phone.” Ms. Ubieta clarified, “There were approximately 70 listed [in] the phone,” but “they could not prove actual cheating.” During her OSI interview, she quickly amended, “There may have been proof for some of the students – a small number” who had “actually” cheated. When asked whether there was any discussion about potential disciplinary action during the meeting, Ms. Ubieta recalled, “The Principal was concerned. Nothing could be done because there was no proof” that student cheating had occurred. She detailed, “It was decided to send a letter home. One A[ssistant] P[rincipal] suggested taking away
43

Ms. Ubieta stated that Mr. Tillman had “former experience as a Dean,” and was, therefore, selected to act as an extra pair of eyes in the room. 44 As Ms. Ubieta explained to the undersigned investigators, the LOTE exam involves an oral dictation section that must be read aloud to students during the administration of the exam.
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OSI Case #12-5848 extra-curriculars.” Ms. Ubieta continued, “The Principal did not say, ‘This is what I’m going to do’ – he seemed to want feedback. [But,] at the end of the meeting, he decided a letter would be sent out.” Ms. Ubieta indicated that she, personally, did not see the letter that was mailed to parents, although she was aware that it was sent to roughly 70 homes. Ms. Ubieta told the undersigned investigators that she did not participate or hear any conversation about whether Student A should transfer out of the school. She, likewise, was not questioned about whether any student’s LOTE exam – Student A or others – should be invalidated. She clarified that she had “no knowledge of any other student cheating on the LOTE exam” aside from Student A. Eric Grossman, Assistant Principal of English: Mr. Grossman appeared at OSI on July 24, 2012, where he was interviewed by Investigators Boyles and Hughes. Mr. Grossman stated that he first learned of the “cheating scandal” during a cabinet meeting that Mr. Teitel called during the morning of Monday, June 18, 2012. At that time, Mr. Teitel explained to the administrative staff that, on Saturday, June 16, he had received an email from a student that mentioned a “student cheating” on the Regents exams, and noted that the same student – Student A – had “planned to cheat on Monday during a test.” It was Mr. Grossman’s stated belief that Mr. Teitel sought to determine “how best to handle” the accusation. According to Mr. Grossman, “the cabinet agreed to switch proctors,” in the room in which Student A was to take his test, such that Mr. Tillman was present to “pay attention to Student A” during the LOTE exam. When asked whether the cabinet’s plan was designed to catch Student A cheating or to prevent him from cheating, Mr. Grossman replied, “I don’t know if we made a distinction. We wanted information. Catching a kid in an act [of cheating] was more likely to yield more information, as opposed to having kids give up their phones in a box, say.” Upon questioning, Mr. Grossman acknowledged that “cell phones were not an immediate topic of discussion” during the June 18 cabinet meeting. As per the Stuyvesant policy, any student seen with his or her cell phone will have the phone confiscated. Mr. Grossman indicated that he learned that it did “not take Mr. Tillman long” to catch Student A cheating during the LOTE exam. He then acknowledged, “I can’t say what immediately took place after the student was caught.” He was able to recall that there were a number of students who were somehow implicated in possible cheating, but admitted that he did not see the “list” of student names, as it was not disseminated to the administrative staff. Later in his OSI interview, Mr. Grossman told Investigators Boyles and Hughes that Mr. Teitel held a “second” cabinet meeting to discuss potential disciplinary action. When asked whether a decision was made regarding disciplinary action, Mr. Grossman replied: “It was tricky. As I gather you already know, the student wiped his phone [of all data]. There was not hard evidence regarding the cheating for most of the students. We had a list of names of students who received texts. To the best of my understanding, that’s why the school conducted the rest of the investigation – it was about which kids got texts, and open texts.” Mr. Grossman then clarified that he did “not know how the list [of
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OSI Case #12-5848 student names] was compiled.” According to Mr. Grossman, during the second cabinet meeting, “disciplinary options” were discussed, including taking away students’ extracurricular activities and lunch privileges. Mr. Grossman could not recall whether there was any discussion regarding whether students would have to retake any portions of their Regents exams. Mr. Grossman stated that, to the best of his recollection, the “students implicated – the students whose names were in the phone” – did lose their leadership positions and lunch privileges. Upon questioning, Mr. Grossman recalled that, during the second cabinet meeting, “someone” had mentioned that the “one student” who had been caught with his phone “should be given a stronger” punishment than his classmates. However, Mr. Grossman could not recall there being any discussion regarding Student A’s specific punishment. He explained, “That discussion didn’t happen, but not because we were avoiding it. I’m guessing it was a timeframe thing.” When asked whether he recalled there being any discussion about Student A having received threats or whether any staff member had evidence that his safety was a concern, Mr. Grossman replied, “I don’t know if it was a concern; the implication was having him stay in school. I don’t know if the Principal has the authority to remove a student. The Principal talked to [Father A]. I don’t know the outcome of this conversation.” When questioned, Mr. Grossman confirmed his belief that, in the email that Mr. Teitel received on June 16, 2012, the student sending the message asserted that Student A had cheated on the June 2012 ELA exam. However, Mr. Grossman told Investigators Boyles and Hughes that “no staff member had indicated that they [sic] knew of a student cheating on the ELA.” He further explained that a large portion of the ELA Regents exam is an essay, and that his scorers did not find any evidence or pattern similar or identical work submitted by students. Upon questioning, Mr. Grossman admitted that cheating at Stuyvesant “happens in varying degrees.” He explained that, at least within the English Department, Stuyvesant students have, on occasion, been caught plagiarizing. Mr. Grossman detailed that, for his staff, “it is a huge deal,” which results in one-on-one meetings with the student in question, an assignment of a 0 grade, and the recording of the incident in the student’s “school profile.” Mr. Grossman then clarified that, in his experience, “there have been no previous concerns regarding text message sharing” on tests. Further, he asserted that he has “never heard about cheating [at Stuyvesant] on a State exam or standardized test” before the June 2012 circumstances that are under investigation. Edward Wong, Assistant Principal of Technology Services: Mr. Wong was interviewed twice during this investigation: once on July 26, 2012 by Investigators Hughes and Small; and, for a second time, on August 10, 2012 by Investigators Boyles, Hughes, and Small, alongside Mr. Colon. During his first OSI interview, Mr. Wong explained that, as the Assistant Principal of Technology Services, he is responsible for “all programming” and “anything that plugs into the wall.”

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OSI Case #12-5848 Mr. Wong stated that he first learned that a student had reportedly cheated on a Regents exam during an emergency cabinet meeting called during the “early morning” of June 18, 2012. According to Mr. Wong, Mr. Teitel reported that he had a received an email indicating that Student A had “cheated on the Physics and would cheat on the LOTE.” After this was shared, the administrators present “discussed what to do.” Mr. Wong recalled, “We decided that there was no evidence that it had occurred so [we would] put a ringer” in the classroom in which Student A was taking his LOTE exam. Mr. Wong stated that he later found out – by “word of mouth” – that “the ringer,” Mr. Tillman, had “caught” Student A taking photos of the exam, and that “students had sent back answers with an iPhone.”45 Regarding Student A’s phone, Mr. Wong told Investigators Hughes and Small, “I saw the phone, but wasn’t involved in getting info from it.” He identified Ms. Damesek as “in charge” of said pursuit. When asked what, if anything, he knew about the extraction of data from the phone, Mr. Wong replied, “They had names and what the messages were.” Mr. Wong agreed to return to OSI on August 10 to answer additional questions about the extent to which he handled Student A’s phone on June 18, 2012. At that time, Mr. Wong reported that, while the LOTE exam was still being administered, Ms. Damesek requested his presence in the main office. Upon his arrival, the APO asked him, “Can you take a look at this phone?” and “Is it possible to download texts?” Mr. Wong told Ms. Damesek that he was not sure if a download was possible, as he is “not familiar with the iPhone.” After looking at the phone, Mr. Wong “gave it to the ‘tech guy,’ Jonathan Cheng.” Mr. Wong explained that he was not present when Mr. Cheng examined the phone, but offered his belief that Mr. Cheng “tried, but he didn’t know how” to download the messages. Mr. Wong stated that Mr. Cheng “tried to email text messages” to him, resulting in his receipt of “one or two messages” on June 18.46 Mr. Wong also shared, “I think he made a video of the phone, but I don’t know where the video is.” Ultimately, it was Mr. Wong’s understanding that Mr. Cheng had discovered that he “needed software or a program” in order to extract the desired information from Student A’s phone. Randi Damesek, Assistant Principal of Organization (“APO”) and testing coordinator: On August 1, 2012, Ms. Damesek appeared at OSI and was interviewed by Investigators Boyles and Hughes in the presence of Mr. Colon. At that time, she stated that she has been Stuyvesant’s APO and the school’s testing coordinator for 10 years. Ms. Damesek acknowledged that she had previously provided Investigators Boyles and Small a copy of the original proctoring schedule relevant to the 2012 June Regents exams; during her OSI interview, Ms. Damesek explained that she was no longer in possession of the amended proctoring schedule (i.e., the schedule that reflected any

At the time of his second OSI interview, Mr. Wong provided OSI with two different emails that were sent from Stuyvesant students to Student A’s phone during the administration of the LOTE exam; the emails contain Spanish text relevant to exam itself. Copies of both emails are included in this case file for reference. 46 Copies of two emails are enclosed in this case file; their content is summarized below.
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OSI Case #12-5848 substitutions that were made on the day of any given Regents exam), as her office had been under construction and the document was lost, misplaced, or accidently disposed of. Ms. Damesek stated that she first learned of the report that a student had been “cheating on the Regents” during a cabinet meeting that Mr. Teitel called on June 18, 2012. At that time, Mr. Teitel apprised Stuyvesant administrators that he had received an email from a student who had identified Student A as having “cheated,” through the use of his cell phone, on multiple Regents exams. In the email, the student – whom Mr. Teitel did not identify – also indicated that Student A had planned to cheat on the LOTE exam. It was Ms. Damesek’s stated belief that Mr. Teitel had called the June 18 meeting in an effort to determine “how to proceed.” After some conversation, it was determined that Mr. Tillman would be placed in the classroom in which Student A was taking the LOTE exam, to be “observant of” Student A. When asked if the plan was for Mr. Tillman to catch Student A or to prevent him from cheating, Ms. Damesek replied, “I couldn’t tell you.” When asked whether there was any discussion as to whether to confiscate Student A’s cell phone prior to the administration of the LOTE exam, Ms. Damesek responded, “I don’t remember.” With regard to Stuyvesant’s cell phone policy, Ms. Damesek detailed, “They [students] are not allowed to have cell phones in schools. We take them when we see them. I don’t think it’s lenient, but I don’t know how it’s done at other schools.” Upon questioning, Ms. Damesek explained that, generally, before the students take a Regents exam, she makes a school-wide announcement over the loudspeaker, indicating that students who are in possession of their phones should “place [their] cell phones on the floor.” She offered her belief that she made this announcement before the June 18 LOTE exam, but stated that she could not be certain that she had done so. She also stated that the Assistant Principals of each department are responsible for writing the “script” that is read in classrooms before students begin each exam, and that these announcements “might” also contain directive about cell phones. Ms. Damesek stated that she was not personally involved in assigning Mr. Tillman proctoring duties in Student A’s classroom, and confided that she did not have any pre-assigned role in the actions that took place after Mr. Tillman observed Student A using a cell phone during the administration of the LOTE. Instead, Ms. Damesek asserted that she became involved in the handling of the incident when she “walked to the Principal’s office” “sometime during that afternoon.” At that time, Mr. Teitel apprised Ms. Damesek that Student A had “gotten caught” cheating, sometime between 12:30 and 1:00 PM.47 When questioned, Ms. Damesek stated that Student A was the “only” student caught using a cell phone during the administration of standardized tests at Stuyvesant. Ms. Damesek confirmed that, while she was speaking with Mr. Teitel, Student A was in the conference room adjacent to the Principal’s office, finishing his LOTE exam. Ms. Damesek explained that testing coordinators are “told by the SED that all students must be allowed to finish their exams.” Upon questioning, Ms. Damesek estimated that, in her 10 years of experience as Stuyvesant’s testing coordinator, a “handful” of students
Ms. Damesek confirmed that the LOTE is a three-hour exam, and that students who are done are permitted to leave after one hour and 45-minutes has elapsed.
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OSI Case #12-5848 have gotten caught cheating during a State-wide exam. Ms. Damesek indicated that she has not personally “dealt” with these instances of cheating; rather, “the Principal and the subject area AP” had “dealt” with them. Ms. Damesek identified that Arlene Ubieta is the Assistant Principal of Foreign Languages, but offered that Ms. Ubieta was “not present for the [LOTE] exam.” According to Ms. Damesek, after she entered Mr. Teitel’s office and learned that Student A had been caught cheating, the Principal asked her to “start looking through [Student A]’s phone.” She “saw text messages, alerts, and emails” all pertaining to exams. Ms. Damesek then “started writing down kids’ names,” recording those students who had “responded to [Student A]’s messages.” Ms. Damesek clarified that she recorded the names of approximately 70 students; however, “there were more who were sent the text, but they did not respond. The 70 [students whose names were recorded] responded in some way.” Ms. Damesek told Investigators Boyles and Hughes that “most” of the students’ contact information was stored in Student A’s phone under their names; however, “a couple” were apparently not stored as one of Student A’s contacts, and, therefore, any communication to or from them appeared only as phone numbers. After recording the names and, in certain cases, the phone numbers of the students who had responded to Student A, Ms. Damesek took “brief notes” regarding whether a particular student had “asked, answered, or responded” to one of Student A’s texts. She clarified that she “did not write down what [each particular student’s] response was.” At an undetermined point in time, Mr. Teitel and Ms. Damesek spoke with Student A about his cheating. According to Ms. Damesek, Student A “admitted to Mr. Teitel that he cheated on [the] Physics [Regents exam].” She continued, “I recall him saying ‘I just wanted to help.’ He did not name student names” of those whom he had attempted to aid. Ms. Damesek described that, by approximately “1:30 or 2:00 [PM],” she “completed a decent list” of students who had responded to Student A’s messages. She recalled, “I didn’t stop. I planned on staying at school quite late – I wanted to get the times and dates” on which the messages were sent. When asked whether she was able to determine whether any texting had occurred during any exams besides the LOTE, Ms. Damesek stated that she ascertained that there were messages sent (and student replies) during the U.S. History and Physics exams. However, before she was able to record specific information, at approximately 4:00 PM, “[Student A] remotely removed all of the data [from his phone].” Upon request, Ms. Damesek detailed that, after Student A was caught using his phone during the LOTE, Father A was called to the school. Ms. Damesek stated that she saw Father A when he was at Stuyvesant on June 18, 2012, but was “not present for his entire conversation” with Mr. Teitel. She was present to hear Mr. Teitel express to Father A “how upset we were” and how “he was going to investigate.” Ms. Damesek was not present if and when Mr. Teitel discussed what disciplinary actions might be taken against Student A. Ms. Damesek did state that it was “soon after” Father A and Student A left Stuyvesant that data “just disappeared” from Student A’s phone. Ms. Damesek stated that she called Student A once the data was erased, at which time he “lied and said he
Chancellor’s Office of Special Investigations 65 Court Street - Room 922 • Brooklyn, NY 11201 Telephone: 718 935 3800; Fax: 718 935 3931

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OSI Case #12-5848 suspended [his service].” She continued, “He said he’d bring the computer tomorrow [the following day,] but he didn’t.” When asked whether any attempts were made to download data from Student A’s phone, Ms. Damesek replied, “We tried, but it didn’t work.” She clarified that she “wasn’t there” when the attempt to download was made, but instead “someone” had told her about the failed efforts. Upon questioning, Ms. Damesek stated that Assistant Principal of Technology Edward Wong “did not get involved.” Ms. Damesek recalled that, at an unidentified point in time on June 18, 2012, Mr. Teitel called Superintendent Matheson, who reportedly told him that he could “keep [Student A’s] phone.” It was also Ms. Damesek’s stated belief that Mr. Teitel had also called DOE Legal Services’ Deputy Counsel Robin Greenfield on June 18, 2012. When questioned about the content of these two telephone conversations, Ms. Damesek explained that she had “heard” Mr. Teitel on the phone, but that she “didn’t discuss” the nature or scope of the conversations with Mr. Teitel. Upon questioning, Ms. Damesek indicated that, on June 18, she and Mr. Teitel did not discuss the disciplinary action that Student A would face. She asserted, “We were worried about the phone.” When asked if they discussed whether to report Student A’s cheating to the SED, Ms. Damesek responded, “It was the Principal’s decision whether to report it to the State.” Upon further questioning, Ms. Damesek admitted that it was her belief that they should have apprised the SED of Student A’s behavior and subsequent admission that he had cheated. She then told Investigators Boyles and Hughes that, “in the days following” the LOTE exam, she had emailed Mr. Teitel to reiterate her belief that the SED should be notified. Ms. Damesek could not recall the nature of Mr. Teitel’s eventual reply, but agreed to access her DOE email at the close of her OSI interview to search for the correspondence in question.48 Upon questioning, Ms. Damesek admitted that she was uncertain whether an OORS had been filed concerning Student A’s cheating; upon consideration, she offered her belief that “a Dean did one.” According to Ms. Damesek, eventually Mr. Teitel notified the SED about Student A’s actions: she could not state when this notification was made, and likewise could not recall “if they [the SED] notified [Mr. Teitel] or he notified [the SED].” According to Ms. Damesek, after June 18, 2012, Father A returned to the school “two or three times” “to meet with Ms. Schindler [guidance counselor] talk about other schools for [Student A].” When asked to expound on this, Ms. Damesek relayed, “Mr. Teitel decided that Stuy is no longer a good school for [Student A]. The kid cheated on the Regents exam and needed to go.” When asked if other students who had been caught cheating on the Regents exams had also “needed to go,” Ms. Damesek clarified that the opinion that Student A should not remain at Stuyvesant was based on the “enormity of the cheating scandal.” She continued that, “In the past, kids have been caught glancing at kids’ papers.” In Student A’s case, “70 kids” were involved in the “scandal.” Ms. Damesek told Investigators Boyles and Hughes that she was and is “in agreement” with

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Ms. Damesek was able to locate the communication, and printed a copy of the email exchange; this document is enclosed in the case file and is summarized following the APO’s interview summary.
Chancellor’s Office of Special Investigations 65 Court Street - Room 922 • Brooklyn, NY 11201 Telephone: 718 935 3800; Fax: 718 935 3931

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OSI Case #12-5848 Mr. Teitel’s belief that Student A “should go.” She then offered that, despite this, she could not recall whether she had shared this opinion with the Principal. At this point during her OSI interview, Ms. Damesek was asked whether she and Mr. Teitel had engaged in a conversation about the possibility of Student A transferring out of Stuyvesant within earshot of the student. In response, Ms. Damesek asserted that the “first conversation” about the possibility of Student A transferring was held “in the presence of [Father A].” She recalled that Ms. Schindler became involved because, as a guidance counselor, she was in a position to “help arrange transfers – safety, voluntarily, whatever.” Upon questioning, Ms. Damesek admitted that she could not recall whether Student A had indicated that he wanted to leave Stuyvesant. Likewise, she could not recall whether Father A had indicated that he wished for his son to be transferred. When asked whether Student A had indicated that he had or was experiencing a traveling hardship commuting to or from Stuyvesant, Ms. Damesek indicated that he had not. Likewise, when asked if Student A had reported that he had been the victim of any form of threat to his safety, the APO indicated that he had not. Similarly, Ms. Damesek had no recollection of there being any discussion with either Student A or his father about whether the media might find out about Student A’s behavior. When questioned, Ms. Damesek stated her belief that it was Ms. Schindler who had indicated to Student A that he should go to the DOE Enrollment Office to pursue a transfer. She initially admitted, “I don’t know if [his transfer] paperwork [was] generated;” upon further consideration, she suggested, “I believe Ms. Schindler gave [Student A] paperwork…I didn’t see it.” Ms. Damesek offered, “The Principal does not want [Student A] back. Mr. Teitel initiated the topic.” The APO denied hearing Mr. Teitel Student A that he would not disclose the reason for Student A’s leaving if the student did, in fact, transfer out of Stuyvesant. During her interview, Ms. Damesek acknowledged, “[Student A] comes back (to Stuyvesant) if he doesn’t want to leave.” She continued, “We can’t expel. We can ask anyone to leave, but [only] the Chancellor can remove someone.” She further added, “I think the Principal was making a suggestion. It was no longer a good idea for [Student A] to be in the building. There are 70 kids that are now in hot water; I don’t know if he will be safe. His name was in the papers, all the staff members know.” Ms. Damesek explained that, because of his decision to cheat, it would likely be very difficult for him to receive any college recommendations from Stuyvesant staff members. When questioned, she acknowledged that, “as far as [she] knows,” Student A had not received any threats following the “scandal.” When questioned, Ms. Damesek confirmed that, “initially,” no Stuyvesant students were interviewed or spoken to regarding Student A’s behavior during the administration of the Regents exams. According to Ms. Damesek, the interviews began after Stuyvesant “got a visit from ‘Legal’ saying we should” conduct interviews.49 When asked whether, in her opinion, the students should have been interviewed in connection with this incident, Ms. Damesek replied, “No. We sent the letter.” When asked to
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Ms. Damesek identified the visitors as “Niket and Rachael;” it is known that she is making mention of Niket Mull and Rachael Teitel.
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OSI Case #12-5848 expound upon her remark, the APO clarified that a letter was sent home to the parents of the 70 students whose names appeared on the list that she had compiled. She explained that the letter, which was written by Mr. Teitel, and, to the best of Ms. Damesek’s knowledge, “not run by Legal,” was mailed on either June 18 or 19, 2012. According to Ms. Damesek, Mr. Teitel tasked her with the responsibility of identifying the interview questions that would be used during the student interviews. She recalled, “I made it up a few minutes before the interviews. The Principal saw it [the questionnaire]. I showed him and he was comfortable with the questions.”50 When questioned about her experience conducting investigations, Ms. Damesek stated that, when investigators come to Stuyvesant – which is infrequently - she will “sit with kids” during interviews. She stated her belief that she has “not ever” conducted an investigation at OSI’s behest. Ms. Damesek stated that she conducted the student interviews at Mr. Teitel’s request. The interviews took place on a Thursday. Initially, they were conducted by Ms. Damesek and Mr. Teitel; however, when the Principal had to step out, Network Leader Jie Zhang sat in on the remaining interviews conducted by Ms. Damesek. Ms. Damesek confirmed that her handwriting appears on all of the student questionnaires, indicating each student’s response to the questions asked. Upon questioning, Ms. Damesek clarified that, “no written response [to a particular questionnaire question] does not mean [that the student offered] no response.” When pressed, she could not provide a universal explanation regarding what the undersigned investigators should understand a blank response to mean. At this point during her OSI interview, Ms. Damesek was asked questions about the techniques that she used during the student interviews. With regard to students who admitted to having received an exam-specific text from Student A, Investigator Boyles asked Ms. Damesek, “Did you ever think to ask [the student], ‘What was your response [to Student A’s text]?’” Ms. Damesek replied, “No. I’m not an investigator.” Upon consideration she offered, “That’s why I had them write a statement.” When asked whether Mr. Teitel ever offered his opinion regarding the effectiveness of the questionnaire that she had created, Ms. Damesek indicated that he did not. Likewise, Ms. Damesek also stated that Mr. Teitel did not offer or suggest that she reach out to Stuyvesant’s Senior Field Counsel for advice or assistance in creating the questionnaire. Ms. Damesek offered that, to her knowledge, copies of all student interview notes and statements were provided to an individual affiliate with DOE’s Legal office.

During her OSI interview, Ms. Damesek was shown a copy of a questionnaire and confirmed that it was representative of the one that she had created and used during her student interviews. A copy of said questionnaire is enclosed in this case file for reference.
Chancellor’s Office of Special Investigations 65 Court Street - Room 922 • Brooklyn, NY 11201 Telephone: 718 935 3800; Fax: 718 935 3931

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OSI Case #12-5848 Email correspondence between Randi Damesek and Stanley Teitel:51 From Ms. Damesek to Mr. Teitel – June 20, 2012, 4:14 PM Stan should we call the state regarding the regents cheating..we are supposed to report it..

From Mr. Teitel to Ms. Damesek – June 21, 2012, 7:55 AM Dear Randi, Which cheating are you referring too [sic]? I have voided some Physics regents exams. Stan

From Ms. Damesek to Mr. Teitel – June 21, 2012, 7:56 AM This whole phone incident…

From Mr. Teitel to Ms. Damesek – June 21, 2012, 8:05 AM Then why am I not canceling all those exams? sTan [sic]

Stuyvesant personnel – Technology staff: Jonathan Cheng, School Computer Service Technician: Mr. Cheng appeared at OSI on August 10, 2012, where he was interviewed by Investigators Boyles, Hughes, and Small. At that time, he confirmed that, on June 18, 2012, he handled Student A’s iPhone. Specifically, Mr. Cheng reported to Mr. Teitel’s office at the request of Mr. Wong. Once present, Mr. Teitel and Ms. Damesek, “asked [him] to retrieve text messages from [Student A’s] phone.” Neither the Principal nor the APO detailed how many messages they wished Mr. Cheng to retrieve, nor did they explain the purpose of this request. Mr. Cheng told the undersigned investigators that, initially, he attempted to forward the text messages saved on Student A’s phone; the plan was not successful. Mr. Cheng explained that he, personally, has an iPhone, and, at the time of incident, was able to forward his own text messages to an email address. He then determined that the operating system on Student A’s phone was in need of an update; however, he did not attempt to update the phone for fear of losing all of its data.

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A copy of this email communication is enclosed in the case file for reference.
Chancellor’s Office of Special Investigations 65 Court Street - Room 922 • Brooklyn, NY 11201 Telephone: 718 935 3800; Fax: 718 935 3931

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OSI Case #12-5848 During this point of his OSI interview, Mr. Cheng explained to the undersigned that, because he was unable to forward Student A’s text messages to an email address, he used his own iPhone to “take a video” of Student A’s phone. Specifically, he opened and scrolled through a text conversation that Student A had exchanged with Student M, and video-recorded Student A’s screen as he did so. Mr. Cheng stated that he apprised Ms. Damesek of what he had done, adding that he can be heard talking to Ms. Damesek on the video. Ms. Damesek did not ask Mr. Cheng to record any other text conversation. Mr. Cheng recalled that, “as [he] was leaving” Stuyvesant on the afternoon of June 18, he learned that “there were other conversations” of interest on Student A’s phone. Mr. Cheng stated that, when he availed himself to stay and record the other conversations, Ms. Damesek “told [him] to go home.” During the evening of June 18, Mr. Cheng downloaded the video of Student A’s phone to YouTube.com, securing it so that it could not be accessed without proper authority.52 He also burned a CD of the video, which he then gave to Ms. Damesek on June 19, 2012. Mr. Cheng told the undersigned investigators that, although he had identified a program that would allow him to download Student A’s text messages, when he returned to school on June 19, he was told that the data had been erased from the phone.

Stuyvesant personnel – Guidance staff: Mazra Schindler, guidance counselor: Ms. Schindler was interviewed at Stuyvesant on September 6, 2012; the interview was conducted by Investigators Boyles, Hughes, and Small in the presence of Mr. Bornemann. Upon questioning, Ms. Schindler stated that she first learned that Student A had cheated during a Regents exam from Mr. Teitel and Ms. Damesek. While she could not recall the day said conversation took place, she was certain that it was a Friday and stated her belief that it was the Friday after Student A had gotten caught.53 According to the guidance counselor, after providing her with a “brief synopsis regarding cheating and [Student A],” Mr. Teitel and Ms. Damesek explained to Ms. Schindler that “there were concerns about [Student A’s] safety.” Ms. Schindler was then directed to “talk to [Student A] and fill out [his] transfer forms.” At this point during her OSI interview, Ms. Schindler told the undersigned investigators that, “due to the atmosphere” at Stuyvesant – one that is “very competitive” – she felt that it was “plausible” that Student A’s safety might be in danger as a result of his involvement in the incident under investigation. She continued, “The argument wasn’t ‘Get him out [of Stuyvesant;] we don’t want him here,’ but, ‘We’re worried about his safety.’”
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At the close of his OSI interview, Mr. Cheng provided OSI access to the YouTube.com video, which can be found at: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hzETnel4WTA. A printed screen-shot of the video is enclosed in this case file for reference. 53 Based upon Ms. Schindler’s estimation, the conversation in question would have occurred on Friday, June 22, 2012.
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OSI Case #12-5848 Upon questioning, Ms. Schindler acknowledged that neither Mr. Teitel nor Ms. Damesek mentioned any specific threats that had been made against Student A. When asked, Ms. Schindler stated that, in her experience as a DOE guidance counselor, she had affected safety transfers at the request of someone other than a student/victim. She cited one instance where she, personally, had been assaulted by a student and, as a result, that student underwent a safety transfer. When asked, Ms. Schindler indicated that neither Mr. Teitel nor Ms. Damesek made any mention of the possibility of Student A undergoing a transportation transfer. Ms. Schindler confirmed that she prepared Student A’s safety transfer paperwork.54 She stated that she sought advice of Eleanor Archie, Assistant Principal of Guidance, regarding a portion of the “T[ransfer] form” that requires a complaint narrative. Ms. Schindler described, “It was my understanding that you needed a report [narrative] – I was looking for a written report. Ms. Archie said she wasn’t comfortable writing [the narrative regarding any threats that had been made, jeopardizing Student A’s safety].” Ms. Schindler stated that she could not recall whether Ms. Archie expounded on why she was “uncomfortable” writing a report. Ms. Schindler confirmed that she spoke with Student A and Father A, and later spoke with Student A, Father A, and Sister A about the safety transfer; she was uncertain of the dates on which these conversations occurred. Ms. Schindler explained that Student A did admit that he had cheated on the Regents exams. He did not state that he had received any threats regarding his safety; neither Father A nor Sister A mentioned him having received threats either. According to Ms. Schindler, Student and Father A did not indicate any preference regarding whether Student A should remain at Stuyvesant. The guidance counselor recalled that, when she provided Student A and Father A with Student A’s transfer paperwork, Student A mentioned an interest in attending a Manhattan school; Ms. Schindler recalled him asking if there was an Enrollment Office in Manhattan. Ms. Schindler told the undersigned investigators that, because she has not affected any form of transfer during her time as a Stuyvesant guidance counselor, she was uncertain of where to direct Student and Father A. She recalled that, after she supplied them with Student A’s transfer form, they left the school. As of the date of her September 2012 OSI interview, Ms. Schindler was unaware of whether Student A was still enrolled at Stuyvesant; she did not know whether his safety transfer was ever submitted and/or accepted. Transfer paperwork provided to OSI by Ms. Schindler:55 The “Application for Inter-High School Transfer (T-Form)” that Ms. Schindler supplied to OSI relevant to Student A evidences that the reason for his transfer request is
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A copy of Student A’s transfer form is included in this case file; the contents of the documents are summarized following a summary of Ms. Schindler’s interview. 55 Again, a copy of this document is included in this case file for reference.
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OSI Case #12-5848 “Documented Safety.” The alternative reasons for a transfer are “Documented Travel Hardship,” “Documented Medical,” and “Other (Describe and attach explanation).” Of the six items that appear under the “Required Attachments” section, the following four are denoted with checkmarks: “Student’s Transcript,” “Medical (recently dated doctor’s statement specifying diagnosis and accommodations required),” “Safety (Occurrence Report, Summary of Investigation, Police Report or Complaint),” and “Proof of Address.” Ms. Schindler did not provide any of the aforementioned documents to the undersigned investigators. The item “I.E.P, if appropriate” is denoted with the letters “NA,” thought to mean “Not Applicable.” The line next to “Statement from Guidance Counselor or School Personnel” is left blank. Under the “Required Signatures” section, the line next to which a “Parent/Guardian” must sign, is blank. Next to the only other line – that which dictates that an “Assistant Principal/Principal” sign - Mr. Teitel’s signature appears next to the date of June 27, 2012. OORS report provided to OSI by Ms. Schindler:56 The OORS report was entered into the OORS database on June 26, 2012, at 12:09 PM, by Vincent Miller, Stuyvesant teacher. The description of the occurrence reads as follows: “It was brought to the attention of the administration today, June 26th that on June 13 during the Physics Regents exam [Student A] and [Student L] copied one another’s answers. After reviewing the exam, the multiple choice answers for [Student L] and [Student A] are identical and a short answer is verbatim.” Eleanor Archie, Assistant Principal, Pupil Personnel Services: On August 10, 2012, Ms. Archie appeared at OSI alongside Mr. Colon, where she was interviewed by Investigators Boyles, Hughes, and Small. Ms. Archie stated that she first learned of the possibility of student cheating during a morning cabinet meeting held on June 18, 2012. According to Ms. Archie, Mr. Teitel called the meeting to “alert us [staff members] that he had received an alert from a student regarding cheating that was coming up.” Mr. Teitel apprised the staff that the cheating was “being done through cell phone.” During the cabinet meeting, it was determined that a “special proctor – Mr. Tillman” was going to be placed in the room in which the student, identified as “possibly going to cheat,” was taking his LOTE exam. When questioned whether the cabinet’s conversation was focused on “preventing or cheating” Student A from cheating, Ms. Archie replied, “I think it was to catch.” Ms. Archie told the undersigned investigators that she did not learn that Student A had been “caught” until a second cabinet meeting, held on Friday, June 22, 2012. She stated that the Stuyvesant cabinet “always” meets on Fridays; she clarified that, on the 22nd, the “bulk” of the meeting was devoted to discussion of the cheating incident, but that additional items were also discussed.

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A copy of the OORS report is included in this case file for reference.
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OSI Case #12-5848 According to Ms. Archie, during the meeting, the administrators were apprised that Student A had been caught cheating. They were also told that “several kids had responded” to Student A’s messages, thereby implicating approximately “50” students in cheating. During the meeting, Mr. Teitel explained that he had been “thinking about how to punish” the students in question. Ms. Archie also relayed that that Mr. Teitel had “discussed writing a letter [to the parents of the 50 students] asking them to meet with him.” Upon consideration, Ms. Archie offered, “I think he decided to write the letter before the cabinet meeting was held.” Ms. Archie stated that, during the June 22 cabinet meeting, “punishment” of the 50 students was also discussed. Ms. Archie described that “ideas were thrown out – including taking leadership roles away, [or] to take lunch privileges away.” Ms. Archie stated that she was unaware of the disciplinary action that was ultimately taken; she further offered her opinion that Mr. Teitel had brought up the matter of disciplining the students in an effort to “gather opinions.” Ms. Archie acknowledged that she did read the letter that Mr. Teitel had drafted to send to parents of the students in question; she clarified that she had edited the letter for its English content. She was ultimately unaware if or when the letter was mailed out. Upon questioning, Ms. Archie offered her belief that, during the June 22 cabinet meeting, there was also discussion waged regarding whether Student A would transfer to another school. Although she could recall a question being asked regarding whether Student A should undergo a transportation or safety transfer, she could not recall which member of the cabinet had posed said question or what the response was. Ms. Archie stated that she “subsequently heard from [Student A’s] guidance counselor that Ms. Damesek and Mr. Teitel wanted to execute a transportation transfer” for Student A. According to Ms. Archie, “within a few days” of the June 22 meeting, Ms. Schindler, Student A’s guidance counselor, brought her the transportation transfer paperwork so that she could sign in approval. Ms. Archie explained to the undersigned investigators that, ordinarily, either she or Mr. Teitel signs to approve transfer paperwork. When Ms. Schindler presented her with the paperwork, Ms. Archie told the guidance counselor that she was not going to sign it. Ms. Archie explained that, because Student A “didn’t move” and, instead, was “living in the same place,” she did not feel that a transportation transfer was appropriate. Specifically, she told Ms. Schindler, “You have to find another reason; I’m not going to sign it.” Within two or three days of this conversation, Ms. Schindler broached the topic of Student A’s transfer again, this time bringing Ms. Archie the safety transfer paperwork. Ms. Archie detailed, “She [had] filled out new safety” transfer paperwork. Upon inspecting the paperwork, Ms. Archie asked Ms. Schindler, “we need a Police [complaint] number - do you have that?” When Ms. Schindler answered that she did not, Ms. Archie replied, “How could you do this? I won’t sign it.” Upon questioning, Ms. Archie told the undersigned investigators that she was “not aware of any threats” that had been made against or concerning Student A. Ms. Archie also confirmed that this was “the first time at Stuyvesant that [she] had seen a safety transfer initiated by a member of the administration,” as such transfers “should be initiated by parents.” Ms. Archie
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OSI Case #12-5848 clarified that she had had “no contact” with Student A’s parents. She further offered that, generally, “safety transfers should be made in reaction to something that had happened, not something that will happen.” Again, she reiterated that she was never made aware of any threats made against Student A. Ms. Archie reported that she was unaware of whether Mr. Teitel or Ms. Damesek had signed any transfer paperwork for Student A. She confirmed that she did not sign off on or approve Student A’s transfer. She explained, “The Principal and APO were handling it [the transfer] – they didn’t ask me about it. They did not ask about why I didn’t sign it.” When questioned, Ms. Archie confirmed that all of the discussions she had with Ms. Schindler about Student A’s transfer paperwork occurred before news of Stuyvesant’s “cheating scandal” received any media coverage.

Stuyvesant personnel – proctors: A review of paperwork relevant to the June 2012 Regents examination period: On June 21, 2012, Investigators Boyles and Small reported to Stuyvesant in response to OSI’s receipt of the instant allegation. At that time, Stuyvesant administrators provided these investigators with paperwork relevant to the June 2012 administration of the Regents exams. Specifically, the investigators were given a preliminary proctor schedule, as well as the classroom rosters relevant to the rooms in which Student A took his Regents exams. After obtaining these documents, Investigator Small wrote the names of the proctors assigned to each of Student A’s classrooms on the rosters themselves. As is noted earlier in this report, at the time of her OSI interview, Ms. Damesek indicated that the preliminary proctor schedule obtained by OSI was inaccurate as adjustments were made to the schedule leading up to and at the time of each Regents exam. Ms. Damesek further explained that, as of August 1, 2012, the finalized schedule could not be located at Stuyvesant. Proctor interviews: As is noted below, Mr. Tillman’s and Ms. George’s proctor interviews were conducted at OSI on September 6, 2012. Following this, on October 3, 2012, Investigators Hughes and Small interviewed 22 Stuyvesant staff members at the high school; all interviews were conducted in the presence of Mr. Bornemann. It should be noted that eight of these 22 staff members were interviewed as they had been identified as having served as a proctor in a classroom in which Student A had taken one of his Regents exams. The remaining 14 teachers were interviewed after they were identified as a proctor by one or more of the 54 Stuyvesant students who were suspended as a result of their involvement in, or knowledge of, student cheating during the June 2012 Regents exams.

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OSI Case #12-5848 Daniel Tillman, Social Studies teacher: On June 18, 2012, Mr. Tillman prepared a written statement regarding his proctoring in Student A’s LOTE exam room.57 The statement reads, in full: “At 1:50 pm, as I proctored the Spanish Regents Examination, I observed [Student A] remove a cell phone from his pocket, place it on his lap, and began [sic] to type. He then placed it back in his pocket. Shortly there after [sic] [Student A] took out the cell phone and held it over the Regents Examination. At this point I contacted the principal’s office. Mr. Teitel, the principal, then came to the room and removed [Student A].” On September 6, 2012, Investigators Boyles, Hughes, and Small interviewed Mr. Tillman at Stuyvesant. At that time, Mr. Tillman reviewed the above-mentioned statement, and confirmed that he had authored it on June 18, 2012. When questioned, Mr. Tillman explained to the undersigned investigators that Ms. Suri, the Assistant Principal of the Social Studies Department, had asked him to serve as a proctor in the room in which Student A was taking his LOTE exam. Mr. Tillman stated that he was not initially assigned to proctor Student A’s LOTE exam, and only did so at Ms. Suri’s request. The request was issued during a one-on-one conversation. According to Mr. Tillman, Ms. Suri did not articulate any clear “intent” or explanation as to why he was being asked to act as Student A’s LOTE proctor, aside from indicating, “They want someone who will do the job as it’s supposed to be done.” When asked to expound on said explanation, Mr. Tillman told the undersigned investigators his belief that he had been selected to be Student A’s proctor because he “would maintain the [proctoring] standard.” He stated that Ms. Suri mentioned a “suspicion” that Student A “might be involved in cheating.” As such, Mr. Tillman was told to “pay attention” to Student A, in addition to “paying attention” to all of the other students taking the LOTE exam. Ms. Suri did not tell Mr. Tillman the origin of such suspicion, nor did she indicate how Student A might cheat. He was not instructed to be mindful of whether Student A was using his cell phone during the exam. Regarding students using cell phones at Stuyvesant, Mr. Tillman stated that it is an established rule that students cannot use their phones while at school. He did not recall making a proctoring announcement regarding cell phone use prior to the administration of the LOTE exam, and, instead, stated that, during Regents week, Ms. Damesek completes a “general announcement” reminding students that cell phones are prohibited. Relevant to the day on which the LOTE exam was administered, Mr. Tillman stated that he was not certain whether he served as a secondary proctor or was the only proctor assigned to the classroom. Mr. Tillman could not recall whether he was provided with any instruction regarding what to do if he observed any student cheating during the exam. He described that, when he observed Student A using his cell phone during the exam, he contacted the Principal. When asked if contacting Mr. Teitel was the standard practice for proctors who catch a student cheating, Mr. Tillman stated that, while it might
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A copy of Mr. Tillman’s statement is enclosed in this case file.
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OSI Case #12-5848 not be standard practice, based upon his own discretion, upon observing any student cheating during a standardized test, he would choose to “call the Principal or, at the very least, the APO” to apprise him/her of the student’s conduct. Mr. Tillman stated that, after Student A had been caught and while the LOTE was still being administered, he was “relieved from [his] proctoring duties.” He could not recall who relieved him, nor could he recall how far into the exam he was relieved from his post. Once he completed his duties, Mr. Tillman went to speak with the Principal and “volunteered” to write a statement, memorializing what had occurred. Mr. Tillman stated that, after he prepared his written statement, he did not engage in any additional conversations with any Stuyvesant staff members or students regarding this incident. He clarified that any subsequent information regarding the incident under investigation was obtained via “what [he] read in the paper.” Shangaza George, Biology teacher/Regents exam proctor: Ms. George was interviewed on September 6, 2012 at Stuyvesant; the interview was conducted by Investigators Boyles, Hughes, and Small in the presence of Klaus Bornemann, UFT Special Representative. At that time, Ms. George indicated that she has been a Stuyvesant teacher for five years; during the June 2012 administration of the Regents exam, she proctored “about three or four” different exams. Ms. George admitted that she did not have independent recollection of which exams she had proctored, and explained that she could have been the “first or second proctor” during any of them. Upon questioning, she stated that she “doesn’t know who [Student A] is,” as she had “never taught him or [to her knowledge] seen him.” Ms. George indicated that it was possible that she was the proctor in the classroom in which Student A took his Physics exam. She adamantly denied falling asleep during any of her proctoring duties.58 Ms. George explained that she does not remain sitting at a desk while proctoring; instead, she “walks” around the room, “stands” at various areas throughout the classroom, and also “changes the time on the board” every 10-15 minutes so that students know how much time remains in the examination period. When questioned, Ms. George estimated that, during the first half of any exam, roughly 5 out of 35 students will ask to use the restroom. Students must use the facilities “one at a time” and they are monitored by “hallway proctors” once they leave classrooms. When asked about what, if any, instruction proctors are required to give students regarding cell phone policy, Ms. George told the undersigned investigators that cell phones are prohibited at Stuyvesant.

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It should be noted that Ms. George was asked about her behavior during the Physics Regents exam based upon Student A’s assertion that she “fell asleep” while proctoring.
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OSI Case #12-5848 According to Ms. George, there is “no hard and fast rule” concerning the steps that a proctor should take if he or she sees a student cheating during a standardized test. Ms. George mentioned that, during the administration of the June 2012 Regents exams, when she “picked up tests [exam booklets],” she was “told to be vigilant regarding cheating.” Ms. George stated that, in her estimation, this instruction was given as a general suggestion, and not in reaction to any report or specific concern of cheating. She could not recall on which testing day the suggestion was made, nor did she state who had made the suggestion. Hugh Francis, English teacher: Mr. Francis confirmed that he proctored multiple Regents exams during the June 2012. Upon questioning, Mr. Francis stated that he likely proctored between six and eight exams. He was certain that he had proctored Physics and a Math exam; however, upon further consideration, he acknowledged that he could not recall whether the Math exam in question was a classroom final or a Regents exam. When asked, Mr. Francis stated that he did not observe any student using a cellular phone during the administration of any exam. Upon questioning, Mr. Francis explained that there “might have been” an announcement made over the public announcement system to remind students that use of cellular phones is prohibited. Mr. Francis told Investigators Hughes and Small that Student A took his Physics Regents exam in the room in which he had proctored. Mr. Francis admitted that he did not know who Student A was on the day that the Physics exam was administered, but that, at an undetermined point in time following the exam, he “heard people talking” about Student A’s cheating. Mr. Francis also stated that at least one colleague “told [him] that [he] might be interviewed” as he had proctored the exam; Mr. Francis did not identify the colleague in question, nor did he clarify who was reportedly going to “interview” him. Holly Hall, Music teacher: Ms. Hall confirmed that she acted as a proctor during the June 2012 Regents exams. She was unable to recall which exams she proctored, and was unable to estimate the total number of exams that she proctored. When questioned, Ms. Hall asserted that she absolutely did not see a student using his or her cellular phone during any Regents exam. She indicated that, if she had observed this type of activity, she would have taken the student’s phone and reported the incident to the APO. Edward Lostal, Math teacher: Mr. Lostal indicated that he proctored during the administration of the June 2012 Regents exams, but admitted that he could not recall which or how many exams he proctored. Upon questioning, Mr. Lostal explained that he was “sure” that there had been “no problems” in the classrooms in which he had proctored. He clarified that he did not observe any student using a cellular phone during the administration of any exam.

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OSI Case #12-5848 Marissa Maggio, Biology teacher: Ms. Maggio told Investigators Hughes and Small that she proctored exams during the June 2012 administration of the Regents. She was unable to recall which specific exams she proctored, but estimated that she proctored a total of four exams. Ms. Maggio indicated that she did not see any student using a cellular phone during the exams that she proctored. Additionally she stated, “I make my kids [students] move their cell phones from their pockets to their bags” during tests. Maria Nedwick, Biology teacher: Upon questioning, Dr. Nedwick stated that she had acted as a proctor during the administration of three different June 2012 Regents exams. She explained that she had served as a “hallway proctor” during each exam, and was, therefore, not assigned to a classroom. While she could not recall all of the specific exams that were administered during the period in which she served as a hallway proctor, Dr. Nedwick did state, “During the Physics exam, I was [posted] outside of the boys’ bathroom.” Dr. Nedwick stated that she did not see any student using a cellular phone during any of the time that she spent as a hallway proctor. Elka Gould, Technology teacher: Ms. Gould recalled that she proctored during the June 2012 administration of the Regents exams, but could not remember which specific exams she proctored. Upon questioning, Ms. Gould estimated that she proctored “three or more times” during June 2012. Ms. Gould indicated that she did not observe any student use his or her cellular phone at any time during the administration of any Regents exam. Gabriela Dehn-Knight, World Language teacher: When asked whether she had proctored any of the June 2012 Regents exams, Ms. Dehn-Knight indicated that she had “probably proctored;” however, she was unable to recall which exams she had proctored. When asked to estimate the number of exams that she had proctored, she indicated “several;” she then admitted that she “didn’t know” how many. Ms. Dehn-Knight advised the undersigned that she did not see any student using a cellular phone during the administration of an exam. Abigail Carpenter, World Language teacher: Ms. Carpenter confirmed that she proctored during the June 2012 administration of the Regents exams. She could not recall for which specific exams she proctored, but was able to estimate that she acted as a proctor for “maybe three exams.” She indicated that she did not observe any student using his or her cellular phone at any time during the administration of the exams.

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OSI Case #12-5848 Anne Manwell, Biology teacher: Ms. Manwell stated that she proctored approximately three Regents exams during June 2012. Upon questioning, Ms. Manwell offered her belief that she proctored the ELA exam, “one of the Sciences, probably Physics,” and “one other exam.” Ms. Manwell volunteered that she had heard, “through the grapevine,” that teachers were supposed to vigilantly watch for cellular phone use during the exams; however, she could only recall that the advice was relayed regarding “the last exam.”59 Ms. Manwell stated that, as a result of the advice, she asked all of the students whom she proctored to leave their cellular phones, along with their student identification cards, on the front desk of the classroom in which they were taking their exam. Towards the conclusion of her OSI interview, Ms. Manwell stated that, when she proctors a final test or a Regents exam, immediately prior to the test, she usually makes an announcement to her students to “move everything to their backpacks.” She could not recall whether she made this specific announcement during the June 2012 Regents exams, but offered that it is her general practice to do so. Steve McClellan, Biology teacher: Mr. McClellan told Investigators Hughes and Small that he completed “some proctoring” during the June 2012 Regents exams; however, he could not recall which exams he proctored. Mr. McClellan estimated that he might have proctored “three or four” times, and indicated his belief that he had also been assigned “hallway duties” once. Upon questioning, Mr. McClellan stated that he did not observe any student utilize his or her cellular phone during the administration of any exam. When asked what, if any, specific instruction he gives to students with regard to cellular phone use during the exam, Mr. McClellan stated, “I just read from the script.”60 Roz Bierig, Biology teacher: Ms. Bierig stated that she did proctor June 2012 Regents exams. She recalled that she proctored the Physics exam, in addition to a language exam – “either French or Spanish” – as well serving as a hallway proctor. Ms. Bierig asserted that she did not see a student using a cellular phone during any of the exams that she proctored. She recalled that, when acting as a hallway proctor, she had instructed students to leave their cell phones on her desk (located in the hallway) while they used the restroom. Sushma Arora, Chemistry teacher: When questioned, Ms. Arora stated that she “thought” she proctored a June 2012 Regents exam. She estimated that she had “maybe” proctored two Regents exams, in addition to being assigned as a hallway proctor twice, but could not recall which exams were given during any of those proctoring duties. Ms. Arora indicated that she did not see any student using a cellular phone during the exams. She explained that, if she had
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Ms. Manwell could not recall the name or title of the colleague who had relayed this information to her. Mr. McClellan clarified that, by “script,” he was referring to the literature given to proctors to read at the beginning of a subject-specific Regents exam.
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OSI Case #12-5848 observed cell phone use, she would have taken the phone from the student and reported the incident to an administrator. When asked what, if any, instruction she provided during the exam period to students regarding cellular phone use, Ms. Arora remarked, “We tell them to put their cell phones away.” Jerry Citron, Biology teacher: Mr. Citron stated that he proctored an estimated “five or six” exams during the June 2012 administration of the Regents exams, although he was unable to recall the specific exams for which he had proctored. When asked whether he saw any student using a cellular phone during any exam, Mr. Citron indicated that he did not. He added that, prior to the beginning of each exam, he typically reminds students not to “take anything out [of their pockets or bags]” during the exam period. Bernard Feigenbaum, Math teacher: Dr. Feigenbaum indicated that he “probably proctored” one of the June 2012 Regents exams. When asked which and how many exams specifically, Dr. Feigenbaum stated “not that many; maybe just one.” He then admitted that he could not recall the subject matter of the exam he had proctored. Dr. Feigenbaum stated that he did not see any students using cellular phones during the administration of the exam. He further indicated that, above and beyond the instructions that provided to proctors, he also reminds his students, “Look at your own paper,” and “Cover your paper.” Robert Weldon, World Language teacher: Mr. Weldon estimated that he “probably” proctored three exams during the June 2012 administration of the Regents. He indicated that he did not see any students using cellular phones during the exams that he proctored. Upon questioning, Mr. Weldon stated his belief that, at the beginning of at least one of these exams, an announcement was made over the school’s public address system reminding students that they were not to use or access their cellular phones during the exams. When asked, Mr. Weldon admitted that he could not recall when, during the Regents examination week, this announcement was made or by whom. Hemal Pathak, Biology teacher: Dr. Pathak indicated his belief that he proctored during the June 2012 administration of the Regents exams. He was certain that he proctored the Chinese Regents exam, and estimated that he might have also proctored “one or two” additional exams. At no time did he observe a Stuyvesant student using a cellular phone during any of the exams. Vito Bonsignore, English teacher: Mr. Bonsignore explained that he proctored “a host” of Regents exams during June 2012. He recalled proctoring the “Physics, Chemistry and Social Studies [U.S. History]” exams, and indicated that he might have also proctored a Math exam. Upon
Chancellor’s Office of Special Investigations 65 Court Street - Room 922 • Brooklyn, NY 11201 Telephone: 718 935 3800; Fax: 718 935 3931

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OSI Case #12-5848 questioning, Mr. Bonsignore stated that he did not see any student using a cellular phone during any of his proctoring assignments. Robert Rosen, Technology teacher: Mr. Rosen apprised Investigators Hughes and Small that he proctored approximately eight Regents exams during June 2012. He stated with certainty that he proctored the Physics and LOTE exams; he could not recall which additional subject areas he proctored. At no time did Mr. Rosen observe a student using his or her cellular phone during an exam. When asked whether he had offered any instruction to students regarding cellular phone use, Mr. Rosen explained that he “read the script” at the beginning of each exam period. Eugene Majewski, Physics teacher: Dr. Majewski estimated that he proctored a total of three Regents exams during June 2012; he specifically recalled proctoring the Math and LOTE exams. He did not see any students using their cellular phones during an exam. Steven Rothenberg, Technology teacher: Mr. Rothenberg indicated his “belief” that he proctored during the June 2012 Regents exams. Upon questioning, he estimated that he proctored between two and three exams. He did not observe any student using his or her cellular phone during the exam. Mr. Rothenberg explained that, prior to the beginning of each of the exams he proctored, he instructed students, “Turn your cell phones off and put them on the floor. Do not use them.” Neil Wang, Physics teacher: Although he was unable to recall which or how many exams he proctored, Mr. Wang did confirm that he served as a proctor during the June 2012 administration of the Regents exams. When asked whether he had observed any student using a cellular phone during the exam periods, Mr. Wang indicated that he had not, adding, “I was strict.” Mr. Wang volunteered his belief that, prior to the administration of at least one of the Regents exams he proctored, an unidentified Stuyvesant staff member made an announcement over the public address system, instructing students not to use their cellular phones during the exams. Jerry Kivi, Chemistry teacher: Dr. Kivi indicated his belief that he proctored during the June 2012 administration of the Regents exams. Upon questioning, he surmised that he proctored the ELA and LOTE exams and “maybe” two additional tests; however, he clarified that these additional tests “might have been” classroom finals as opposed to Regents exams. Dr. Kivi stated that he did not see any student using a cellular phone during the exams. When asked whether he had provided students with any instruction regarding use of

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OSI Case #12-5848 phones during the exams, Dr. Kivi replied, “I don’t think so, but I think I was the second proctor.”61

SED administrative personnel: Steven Katz, Director of State Assessment Office for Standards, Assessment and Reporting: Mr. Katz was interviewed by Investigator Hughes, via telephone, on July 12, 2012. At that time, he asserted that, to his knowledge, no one from Stuyvesant had reported any allegations or suspicions of student cheating to SED regarding the June 2012 administration of the Regents exams prior to the news coverage of the incident. In fact, he stated that he first learned of the suspected cheating when “The Daily News uncovered the story.” Mr. Katz then stated his belief that the newspaper had printed a story about the Stuyvesant cheating on June 25, 2012. On the day following The Daily News article – Tuesday, June 26, 2012, Mr. Katz called Mr. Teitel to ask him about the information reported in the newspaper. At that time, Mr. Teitel explained to Mr. Katz that, on June 16, he had received an email from a student, alerting him to the fact that another student was cheating on the Regents exams. Mr. Katz told Investigator Hughes his belief that Mr. Teitel had “wanted to protect” the identity of the student who had emailed him, as Mr. Teitel agreed to send Mr. Katz the email in question, but only after the student’s name was redacted.62 According to Mr. Katz, Mr. Teitel then explained to him that, following receipt of the email in question, Student A was caught using his phone during the June 18, 2012 administration of the LOTE exam. Following this, it was determined that the student “could have” disseminated LOTE answers to a number of his classmates. According to Mr. Katz, Mr. Teitel also informed him that, on June 20, he sent a letter home to the parents of those students believed to have received Student A’s assistance on the LOTE.63 Mr. Teitel also apprised Mr. Katz that the incident was “under investigation.” Additionally, Mr. Teitel informed Mr. Katz that, during the administration of the Physics exam, a separate incident of student cheating was discovered. During their June 26, 2012 telephone conversation, Mr. Katz asked Mr. Teitel whether he had reported either incident. When Mr. Teitel indicated that he had not, Mr. Katz inquired why he had not done so. With this prompting, Mr. Teitel explained that he felt that he only had “preliminary” information regarding the incidents, citing that he “didn’t have evidence to determine” if “fraud” had been committed. At Mr. Katz’s request, Mr. Teitel then drafted and faxed to the SED a letter describing the aforementioned two incidents. A copy of this letter is enclosed in this case file and is
To clarify, during the June 2012 administration of the Regents exams, there were two instructors who each proctor a specific exam; only the first proctor is responsible for reading the exam “script” to students at the beginning of the exam. 62 A copy of the email in question is enclosed in this case file, and is summarized following Mr. Katz’s interview summary. 63 Mr. Katz forwarded a copy of said letter – which was also printed in The Daily News on June 25, 2012 – to OSI; the letter is summarized in this report and a copy of it is enclosed in this case file for reference.
Chancellor’s Office of Special Investigations 65 Court Street - Room 922 • Brooklyn, NY 11201 Telephone: 718 935 3800; Fax: 718 935 3931
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OSI Case #12-5848 summarized below; it should be noted that, according to Mr. Katz, the letter was received by the SED on June 26, 2012, despite the fact that the letter is dated June 27.64 Mr. Katz told Investigator Hughes that, according to SED guidelines, a school must report student cheating in the event that there is a “confirmed case” of student cheating. In the event that there is only a “suspicion” of cheating, a “Principal should investigate and, if there is a finding of fraud, they [sic] [the Principal] must report” the incident to the SED. Mr. Katz also detailed that, if the Principal investigates and does not identify that a “confirmed case” of cheating occurred, he or she “does not have to report” the incident to the SED. Mr. Katz continued, “The only effect [on students’ Regents exam scores that] we have at the SED” is that, if fraud has been confirmed, “they must invalidate if the Principal hasn’t done so already.” Upon questioning, Mr. Katz confirmed that the SED does not instruct administrators to report the “confirmed cases” within any explicit timeframe; however, a Principal should use his or her best judgment and report the student cheating expeditiously. During his interview with Investigator Hughes, Mr. Katz explained that the LOTE exam is not a New York State exam and, therefore, according to SED guidelines, a Principal is not required to report to the SED confirmed cases of student cheating. He relayed his belief that the DOE likely has its own regulations regarding the steps that an administrator must take following a confirmed case of student cheating on the LOTE exam. At the close of his conversation with Investigator Hughes, Mr. Katz offered his belief that Mr. Teitel had exercised “poor judgment” by not reporting the student cheating on the Physics exam to the SED, and the cheating on the LOTE to the DOE (assuming, Mr. Katz suggested, that Mr. Teitel did not made such a notification in this instance). Mr. Katz continued, “The letter [that Mr. Teitel sent to Stuyvesant parents dated June 20] should not predate notification to the SED” as the letter suggested that Mr. Teitel had conducted an investigation, and had not only reached “a judgment,” but had also issued disciplinary action. Email correspondence sent from an unidentified female Stuyvesant student to Mr. Teitel on Saturday, June 16, 2012, and later faxed from Mr. Teitel to Mr. Katz on June 26, 2012:65 From: [redacted by Mr. Teitel] To: Teitel Stanley (02M475) Sent: Sat 6/16/20152 9:14 AM Subject: Cheating in Regents Hello Mr. Teitel, I just wanted to let you know about the recent cheating that has been going on. A student named [redacted by Mr. Teitel] received the answers to the physics, US history, and english regents [sic] from about 4 people through text messaging. He then sent out the
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Mr. Katz provided Investigator Hughes with a copy of the fax cover-sheet that accompanied the letter in question, which features the date of June 26, 2012. 65 Again, a copy of this email is included in this case file.
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OSI Case #12-5848 answers to 50+ people via a mass text. He is also planning to do this with the LOTE as well as the health final. I don’t think it’s fair that students just got all the answers when others really work hard to do well on an exam. Please do something about this situation. [redacted by Mr. Teitel] also has 2-3 phones, and only 1 of them has all the text with the answers and conversations. If you ask for his phone he might give you one that is just a dummy phone. I believe he uses a white IPhone [sic] to send out answers. Letter sent from Mr. Teitel to the parents of those students identified by Stuyvesant administrators as having replied to one of Student A’s text messages:66 June 20, 2012 To the Parent/Guardian of: Dear Parent: During the Language Other Than English (LOTE) final examination on Monday, June 18th I confiscated a cell phone from a student whose initials are [redacted by OSI]. When I went through the inbox of his phone I found that your child had engaged in text messaging involving the various June 2012 Regents with students taking the exam. As principal I find this very disturbing. As a consequence of this action I will not allow any of the students involved to hold positions of leadership or belong to school leadership organizations. These organizations include, but are not limited to, Bib Sibs, ARISTA, Speech & Debate or Student Union. Further, those students involved will not be allowed to participate in SING 2013 or exercise their out-to-lunch privileges for the 2012-2013 school year. I find this breach of integrity very serious and hope you will talk with your child about the need to remain honest and preserve their academic goals at Stuyvesant and beyond. Sincerely, Stanley Teitel Principal

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Again, a copy of this letter is enclosed in this case file for reference.
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OSI Case #12-5848 Letter sent from Mr. Teitel to Mr. Katz regarding two “cheating issues.” According to Mr. Katz, although the letter is dated June 27, 2012, the SED received it on June 26, 2012:67 June 27, 2012 Mr. Katz, During the June 2012 Regents Examination period Stuyvesant High School dealt with two cheating issues. Incident 1 Four Physics exams were invalidated due to duplication of answers. Proctors noticed students looking suspiciously at other students work [sic]. When the papers were examined they answers [sic] were found to be extremely similar. The students were questioned and admitted to cheating. The four students involved in this case were [STUDENTS N, O, L, and A]. Incident 2 Mr. Teitel, Principal of Stuyvesant High School received an anonymous email the day before the LOTE exam. The email indicated that a student, [Student A] was using his iPhone to text answers during exams to over 50 students. The email shared that [Student A] had done this during the English and Physics Regents and that he was planning on doing it during the LOTE exam. During the exam the room proctor noticed this young man take out his phone and brought the student and the phone down to Mr. Teitel. The incident is still under investigation. CONCLUSION It is the conclusion of this office that, due to a lack of foresight, candor, and professional judgment, Mr. Teitel and Ms. Damesek failed to efficiently and effectively carry out the administrative duties entrusted to them during their handling of the “cheating incident” of June 2012. On June 16th, 2012, Principal Stanley Teitel received an email from a student who provided detailed information that Student A had electronically assisted numerous classmates to cheat on recent Regents examinations and was poised to do so again in the near future. Upon receipt of this information, Mr. Teitel showed an extreme lack of judgment when he orchestrated a plan designed, not to address or thwart this cheating, but to create circumstances under which it could continue despite Student A’s reported scheme to disseminate test-related information to 50 or more of his peers via “mass text.” Rather than discuss these allegations with Student A prior to the exam, advise proctors to be hyper-vigilant while overseeing these exams, or ensure that students were without their phones during these exams, Mr. Teitel set out to “catch” Student A in the act of cheating. Aside from this sting, Mr. Teitel took no other proactive measures to address the allegations contained within this email.
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Again, a copy of this email is included in this case file.
Chancellor’s Office of Special Investigations 65 Court Street - Room 922 • Brooklyn, NY 11201 Telephone: 718 935 3800; Fax: 718 935 3931

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OSI Case #12-5848 Even after Student A was caught using his cellular telephone to cheat on June 18 , thereby confirming the validity of the claims contained within the June 16th email, Mr. Teitel failed to take any steps to investigate the additional allegations contained therein. Specifically, the student-complainant had advised that Student A had disseminated information from the US History, Physics, and English Regents examinations to multiple classmates. As the head of the school, Mr. Teitel, along with his testing coordinator, Ms. Damesek, were responsible for investigating these claims to determine whether these exams had also been compromised, and, if so, to what extent. Nevertheless, the only action that Mr. Teitel took with respect to these other exams was to instruct AP Scott Thomas to compare Student A’s Physics test to those of the students who had been seated next to him. Neither Stanley Teitel nor Randi Damesek asked Student A about these other exams, or questioned any of the approximately 70 students whose names were found in Student A’s phone until directed to do so by DOE’s Office of Legal Services eight days after the exam’s administration.
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Not only did Mr. Teitel and Ms. Damesek fail to take it upon themselves to properly address and/or investigate the allegations at issue, but they failed to give those around them a suitable opportunity to do so. For example, after confiscating Student A’s cellular phone on June 18th, Ms. Damesek did request that Edward Wong, AP for Technology Services, examine it to determine whether the text messages therein could be downloaded. In turn, Mr. Wong, unfamiliar with the iPhone, called for assistance from technician Jonathan Cheng. Upon Mr. Cheng’s arrival, not only did Mr. Teitel and Ms. Damesek neglect to advise him of the reason for his search of Student A’s phone – information that may have helped him to formulate a plan of action, but, after Mr. Cheng used his own mobile phone to record a text conversation discovered upon Student A’s phone, they failed to ask him to continue to record additional text conversations in this same manner even though other forms of retrieval had proved unsuccessful. In fact, after learning that other conversations of interest existed on Student A’s phone, Mr. Cheng offered to remain at school after hours in order to continue searching and recording. Instead, Ms. Damesek advised him to “go home.” Mr. Teitel and Ms. Damesek also evinced a lack of professional judgment and an intent to obstruct the reporting process when they made the conscious decision not to inform the Division of Academics, Performance, and Support (“DAPS”) and the State Education Department (“SED”) of these incidents as required by DOE policy. In her June 20th and June 21st emails to Mr. Teitel, sent two and three days after Student A was caught cheating, Ms. Damesek evidenced her awareness of that reporting obligation by advising Mr. Teitel that they were “supposed” to “call the state [sic] regarding the Regents cheating.” However, in response, Mr. Teitel appears to question the logic of Ms. Damesek’s instruction, asking what explanation he was then to provide DAPS and SED for “not cancelling all of those [other] exams.” From there, the email conversation ends, but the record is clear: only after the incidents at issue began to receive coverage in the New York media were they finally reported to SED on June 26th – again, eight days after Student A’s transgression was discovered. It is worth noting, however, that this June 26th report did not come about as a result of Mr. Teitel or Ms. Damesek initiating contact with SED. Rather, SED became aware only after Director Steven Katz took it upon himself to call Mr. Teitel in an effort to gather the information that reporters had already gleaned
Chancellor’s Office of Special Investigations 65 Court Street - Room 922 • Brooklyn, NY 11201 Telephone: 718 935 3800; Fax: 718 935 3931

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OSI Case #12-5848 from the letter that Mr. Teitel had sent to Stuyvesant parents. Yet, even at that time, Mr. Teitel attempted to deliberately mislead officials by advising them that the cheating incidents at issue were still under “investigation” despite the fact that the aforementioned letter revoking student privileges had already been mailed and that no further action had been taken or planned at the school level. This information that Mr. Teitel provided to Mr. Katz and DOE officials was not only misleading; it contained factual inaccuracies. To review, Scott Thomas, AP of Physics and Chemistry, reported that, on June 12, 2012 – 6 days prior to Student A’s LOTE exam, “a proctor caught two students cheating” on their Physics Regents examinations. As a result, both of these students’ exams were invalidated. Neither of these students was Student A. Then, on June 18th, prior to the administration of Student A’s LOTE exam, Mr. Teitel asked AP Thomas to “pull the file on the exams” in order to compare Student A’s Physics Regents exam to those of the students sitting next to him. When AP Thomas did so, he discovered distinct similarities between Student A’s exam and that of his classmate, seated in what was deemed “seat 1.” As a result, both of those exams were turned over to Mr. Teitel and subsequently invalidated. Despite the above facts, in a June 26th letter written to Mr. Katz at his own request, Mr. Teitel described an incident during the administration of the Physics Regents examination in which proctors noticed students, one of whom was Student A, looking at each other’s papers, resulting in the review and invalidation of all four exams. This account was incorrect. Moreover, later that same day, in a conference call with DOE administrative personnel, Mr. Teitel told the participants that, during the grading of the Physics exam, teachers discovered that “students wrote the same sentences on exams,” prompting him to invalidate the “4 affected exams.” According to Mr. Teitel, Student A was one of these four students. This account was also incorrect. During that same conference call, Mr. Teitel also informed participants that he was “in communication” with Mr. Katz regarding these testing improprieties, and indicated that students had “not yet [been] questioned” about having received text messages during the administration of standardized exams. It was at this time that Mr. Teitel, who had allowed eight days to pass without questioning students about these State-wide, standardized exams, was instructed to immediately conduct student interviews. Mr. Teitel and Ms. Damesek also showed a complete lack of professional judgment when they knowingly attempted to have a guidance counselor and DOE enrollment officer remove Student A from Stuyvesant under the guise of a transportation or safety transfer – neither one of which was needed or requested by Student A or his father. Student A and Father A both testified that, on the date of the incident, June 18, 2012, Mr. Teitel told them that Student A was not going to be allowed to stay at Stuyvesant. Student A further testified that, on June 19, 2012, the day that he returned to the school to apologize, Ms. Damesek informed him that he was going to have to leave the school. Ms. Damesek and/or Mr. Teitel then referred Student A and his father to Guidance Counselor Mazra Schindler who informed them that Ms. Damesek had cited concerns for Student A’s “safety” when directing her to complete “safety transfer” paperwork. This, despite the fact that Student and Father A had made it clear to both Ms.
Chancellor’s Office of Special Investigations 65 Court Street - Room 922 • Brooklyn, NY 11201 Telephone: 718 935 3800; Fax: 718 935 3931

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OSI Case #12-5848 Schindler and Network Leader Jie Zhang that they had no concerns for Student A’s safety, and, in fact, wanted him to stay at and graduate from Stuyvesant. This investigation further revealed that Ms. Damesek showed a lack of professional judgment in failing to effectively manage the testing proctors and oversee the testing environment at Stuyvesant. The investigation revealed a lack of uniformity and continuity surrounding the proctoring performed at Stuyvesant. More specifically, throughout this investigation, investigators had a difficult time determining the identities of the staff members that proctored each exam as the assignment list continued to change up until the day on which each exam was administered, and then was ultimately lost – a failing that clearly falls on the shoulders of the testing coordinator. Additionally, interviews with students revealed that, while some of these proctors were more diligent in performing their duties than others, there appeared to be no vehicle whereby Ms. Damesek could track her proctors’ locations or efforts, making the ability to address this ineffectiveness problematic, if not impossible. The numerous interviews conducted by OSI investigators also brought to light that none of Stuyvesant’s numerous proctors appeared to have a clear understanding of the instructions that they were to give prior to an exam’s administration, or of what they were to do if they had reason to believe that a student was cheating. As testing coordinator, it was Ms. Damesek’s responsibility to oversee this process and to ensure that all proctors provided Stuyvesant’s student with consistent information that conformed to the policies and practices promulgated by the SED. Yet, despite being the school’s testing coordinator for 10 years, Ms. Damesek appeared to have little interest in the manner in which the proctors under her supervision carried out their duties, and failed to ensure that the instructions provided were complete and accurate. When questioned, Ms. Damesek could not even recall whether she, herself, had given instructions, via the loud speaker, that spoke to the prohibition on mobile devices during testing periods. RECOMMENDATION It is the recommendation of this office that a copy of this report be referred to Steven Katz, SED, for his information and review. As Stanley Teitel retired from the NYC Department of Education effective September 1, 2012, it is the recommendation of this office that DOE's Office of Personnel Investigations ("OPI") assign a problem code to Mr. Teitel in order to preclude him from consideration for future employment with the Department.

Chancellor’s Office of Special Investigations 65 Court Street - Room 922 • Brooklyn, NY 11201 Telephone: 718 935 3800; Fax: 718 935 3931

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OSI Case #12-5848 It is further recommended that a copy of this report be referred to the Administrative Trials Unit (“ATU”) and that a Technical Assistance Conference (“TAC”) be convened to determine the appropriate disciplinary action to be taken against Randy Damesek, Assistant Principal.

APPROVED BY:

________________________ Candace R. McLaren Director

Chancellor’s Office of Special Investigations 65 Court Street - Room 922 • Brooklyn, NY 11201 Telephone: 718 935 3800; Fax: 718 935 3931

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