One New York City teacher who has been accused of sexually harassing students at one local high school has since changed his name and joined the staff of another area school — at the recommendation of the city Department of Education.
According to the New York Post, Gabriel Mitey, 28, who previously taught social studies at the Lower Manhattan Arts Academy, now goes by Gabriel Torres and is teaching algebra and earth science at the Professional Performing Arts School in Midtown Manhattan, a school serving grades 6-12 and described by the Post as "highly coveted."
While Mitey was still at LoMA, several students reported seeing a photo of him posted to Snapchat. In the photo, Mitey is naked except for a towel loosely covering his groin. Several students who followed Mitey copied the image and shared it with others, according to the Post.
In addition to the disturbing Snapchat photo, at least two students reported that Mitey had behaved inappropriately with them. One male student, who is believed to have graduated from LoMA in 2020, reported that Mitey began flirting with him via text message after his AP government class went remote during the COVID shutdown.
"I could tell that he was flirting, it was very much flirting. He had an ulterior motive," said the unnamed former student. "I felt so uncomfortable going to his Zoom classes."
The student also alleged that after graduation, Mitey suggested the student come over to his apartment for a social — and possibly romantic — visit.
"He wanted to show me a book. We could have coffee at his place, maybe food. He basically asked me on a date," the student said.
The student claimed he rejected the invitation.
Another black female student, Jolissa Jones, alleged that Mitey invited her to read a selection on Galileo. He wanted to videotape the reading for a master's class and asked her to struggle with the passage deliberately and "act mad." She also claimed that he asked her to delete their Snapchat conversations, which also allegedly contained flirtatious messages. "Chat has got to disappear," he supposedly told her.
LoMA did remove Mitey from the school for a time. When it attempted to reinstate him, both parents and students complained loudly.
"We don’t want any pervert teachers," one LoMA dad said.
Derek Premo, the LoMA principal who may have protected Mitey, has since resigned amid his own allegations of sexual harassment.
In all, the Special Commissioner of Investigation for city schools received five complaints about Mitey between 2020 and 2021. Three of those cases were closed and two were referred to the city DOE. Despite these investigations, the DOE allegedly recommended Mitey for the special education vacancy at PPAS.
PPAS principal Kevin Ryan and a guidance counselor confirmed that "Mr. Torres" and Mitey are the same person after one parent recognized his photo. However, Ryan then reportedly told concerned parents that he was unaware of Mitey's troubling history during the hiring process. Ryan further added that "Torres" "came highly recommended" to him from the DOE, parents said.
"[Ryan] feels the DOE played him," one father stated.
The Post reported that the SCI has not released any of its findings regarding Mitey, and the DOE has refused to comment on the cases against him, even to determine whether any of them remain active. A teacher named G. Torres is still listed on the PPAS website.
It is unclear whether Mitey has legally changed his name to Torres.
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