NEW ROCHELLE – Laura Feijóo’s decision to bar Lou DiRienzo from coaching the New Rochelle High School football team for the time being has outraged the coach’s legion of supporters and prompted the teachers union to call for her resignation, just two weeks after she started working as the school district’s superintendent.
Feijóo faced a barrage of questions and criticisms in a packed room today in the district offices, where supporters of DiRienzo demanded to know when he would be reinstated as football coach.
Feijóo provided few answers, though, less than a day after she reassigned DiRienzo away from his teaching and coaching duties as the Huguenots’ football team prepares for a state playoff game this weekend.
At a press conference with reporters this morning, then at an impromptu, standing-room-only public forum as a crowd swelled in the district offices, Feijóo refused to discuss the circumstances that led to the reassignment of DiRienzo, a longtime physical education teacher and head football coach.
Several people who spoke at the public forum said that the incident involved DiRienzo helping a relative at the school, and the New Rochelle Football Parent Association tweeted on Wednesday that DiRienzo “helped a student in distress to leave school with her parent.”
“I really can’t discuss any of the circumstances,” Feijóo said, adding that it was for DiRienzo’s protection.
On Wednesday, Feijóo emailed the community about the reassignments of DiRienzo and a teacher at Isaac E. Young Middle School, which were unrelated. Today, the teachers’ union called for her resignation after those two teachers “had their reputations and years of service defamed,” Martin Daly, longtime president of the New Rochelle Federal of United School Employees, said in an email.
“The anger and resentment” among the district’s teachers today “was palpable,” he said.