Former Fort Lee students file lawsuit against school district claiming abuse from teacher

The lawsuit alleges inappropriate touching, grooming and misconduct by a teacher identified as Howard Sidorsky at Lewis F. Cole Middle School.

Tony Caputo

Mar 20, 2024, 4:16 PM

Updated 32 days ago

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Two former middle school students have filed a civil lawsuit against the Fort Lee School District, alleging sexual harassment, discrimination and abuse by a former special education math teacher.
The lawsuit alleges inappropriate touching, grooming and misconduct by a teacher identified as Howard Sidorsky at Lewis F. Cole Middle School in 2012 and again in 2017. Sidorsky has since been convicted of the crimes.
Lawyers say school administrators purposefully did not report the teacher’s behavior to the Division of Child Protection and Permanency in a timely fashion, in violation of mandatory reporting laws and failing to comply with the district’s own policies.
Kaylie Quezada, one of the alleged victims who is now 19 years old, says she has lasting effects from what she experienced.
“I still saw him after class, after I reported him, and I was afraid for my life. Every time I heard his name in a classroom discussion or saw him, it would make me panic. After I spoke up, I felt invalidated and therefore ashamed,” Quezada said.
A second alleged victim has chosen not to identify herself publicly. They were in the seventh and eighth grades at the time of the alleged incidents.
The lawsuit alleges other students also came forward with similar harassment concerns. Lawyers are asking others to step forward.
News 12 New Jersey reached out to Fort Lee school district officials for comment and is waiting to hear back.


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