Little Falls Teacher Files Notice of Claim Against School District
A Little Falls teacher and coach has filed a notice of claim against the Little Falls School District over punishment he says he received after he cooperated with a police investigation earlier this year. Anthony Scaparo, a tenured teacher and varsity wrestling coach, claims that after a statement he gave to police regarding an incident in which another coach allegedly injured one of the wrestlers on his team, the school began imposing punishments against him.
According to the Notice of Claim, the former modified wrestling coach, Nikolaus Reff, caused injury to a student on December 6, 2016 just before a Varsity wrestling practice. In January, Scaparo, along with other staff members and students, were interviewed by Little Falls Police in regards to the incident and Reff was ultimately arrested on charges of third degree assault. According to the Notice of Claim, two Little Falls school employees were angry with Scaparo's statement to police: Nik Reff's mother Melissa Reff (an employee of the district's Business Office) and another Little Falls coach, Erica Reff, who is the wife of Nikolaus. Scaparo was told that he was no longer allowed to visit the the Business Office, unless the visit was pre-arranged, according to the complaint. Additionally, the document states that Scaparo was forbidden to speak to Erica Reff.
Scaparo expressed concern over the action taken against him both to administration officials and to the Little Falls Teachers Association, according to the claim. On March 28, despite his concerns, Superintendent Keith Levatino confirmed that Scaparo would indeed be required to follow the restrictions, both with pre-arranged meetings at the Business Office and the order not to speak to Coach Reff. It was explained that the decision was based on the result of the Reff's feelings toward Scaparo following his "truthful statements to police," according to the claim.
"The restrictions imposed on Claimant (Scaparo) as a result of his participation in the Police investigation will likely dissuade others from coming forward in police investigations in the future," Scaparo's attorney Stanley Silverstone explained in the complaint, and that the action taken against him is "disciplinary in nature." Scaparo's claim is requesting the school reimburse legal fees incurred, as well as compensation for emotional distress and damage to his reputation.
WIBX has reached out to and is awaiting an official comment from Superintendent Levatino.