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Fort Lee District and For Lee Board of Education Face Civil Lawsuit (3/20/24)

On behalf of greg


Fort Lee, NJ– Jeffrey Fritz, Esquire, of the law firm of Soloff & Zervanos on behalf of two former middle school students, has filed a civil lawsuit against the Fort Lee School District and the Fort Lee Board of Education, alleging sexual harassment, discrimination and abuse by a former special education math teacher, Howard Sidorsky. The two courageous students, have come forward to seek justice, hold the school district accountable for their actions and ensure for the safety of future students within the school district.
The lawsuit, filed in Bergen County Superior Court alleges disturbing accounts of inappropriate behavior, touching and misconduct by their teacher at Lewis F. Cole Middle School in 2012 and again in 2017. The complaint describes predatory sexual conduct including: grooming, sexual overtures, sexual harassment and assault, offensive touching and contact, abuse, bullying, intimidation and discriminatory behavior and conduct. These allegations involve not only the failure of the school district and board to protect the students but also their negligence in responding to and addressing the situation promptly and effectively.  Specifically, the complaint alleges that school administrators purposefully did not report the teacher’s behavior to New Jersey’s Division of Youth and Family Service’s (“DYFS”)/New Jersey’s Division of Child Protection and Permanency’s (“DCP&P”) in violation of mandatory reporting laws and failed to comply with the district’s own policies.
In 2018, after one of the students reported the abuse to police, Sidorsky was found guilty of harassment for “offensive touching” and in 2019, DCF’s Institutional Abuse and Investigation Unit found that sexual abuse was “substantiated.”  The complaint further alleges that it was only after these findings that the School Board concluded that the former teacher committed an act of Harassment, Intimidation and/or Bullying (HIB).
One of the plaintiffs in this lawsuit, Kaylie Quezada, states: “The abuse and discrimination I suffered in middle school had lasting effects on me, my education and my entire family.  At the age of 13, I experienced abuse that no child should ever have to face and I am now coming forward publicly to hold the Fort Lee School District accountable for ignoring our complaints and to make sure this never happens to another student.”  Another victim, identified as Jane Doe 22 in the lawsuit, added: “This has been a long, ongoing battle for healing. I trusted both the perpetrator and my school and hope that the school, which has protected predators for several years and shamed little girls from stepping forward, will finally face responsibility.  I hope that we can all move forward from this feeling vindicated, self confident and stronger then the little girls we were.”
Soloff & Zervanos and the Plaintiffs call upon the Fort Lee community and the public to come forward with any information that may be relevant to this case.   It is the hope of the Plaintiffs that their actions in coming forward will allow other students to feel comfortable in speaking out against abuse and discrimination.  Attorney Jeffrey Fritz adds: “We believe that the collective efforts of the community can help in shedding light on the truth and ensuring that justice is served for these students.”
If you have any information related to this case or have concerns about the safety of students, please contact us at 212-804-8125 or via email at Your information can make a difference and contribute to a safer educational environment for all students.