School Official: Teacher Probe 'Not a Witch Hunt'
But Superintendent Dr. Charles Maranzano says Hopatcong would consider any evidence that could aid investigation into suspended high school teacher Hilary Gorzelnik.
Hopatcong schools Superintendent Dr. Charles Maranzano said Monday the district would consider any evidence from the public that could help the investigation into the suspended high school teacher alleged to have violated the district's code of ethics.
But he also said the district doesn't have it out for 31-year-old physical education teacher Hilary Gorzelnik, who was suspended with pay June 6.
"If someone were to send it to us, we would embrace any bit of evidence," Maranzano said. "But let's also say this is not a witch hunt."
Last Friday, NJ.com reported Maranzano said he had "very serious concerns" that the physical education teacher could have been involved with possibly improper emails and text messages with male and female students. He also said Gorzelnik, a girls soccer coach, had been suspended to keep her from students until the investigation ends, the report said.
Maranzano said Monday the district is "focusing on everything" in its investigation into Gorzelnik, a seven-year Hopatcong teacher.
"But the only thing I can focus on in this investigation is substantive evidence, not casual evidence," he said. "The public has to understand, like a criminal attorney or like a judge or someone who has the responsibility to judge performance, you need substantive evidence to go on."
New Jersey Education Association Director of Communications Steve Wollmer couldn't immediately be reached for comment Monday.
But Wollmer has said the district's investigation has yet to turn up hard evidence pointing to anything criminal or event a breach of staff conduct policy.
Board of Education President Cliff Lundin said in an email he couldn't comment on specifics regarding the investigation.
"The Board members are not privy to the details of the on-going investigation," he said. "I would anticipate that the administrative staff will probably brief the Board on the status of the investigation during the closed or executive session portion of our meeting next week. All allegations will be investigated. Anyone with any evidence or relevant information should direct it to Dr. Maranzano's office. The Board and the administration is following the procedures required by statute, regulation and case law and as recommended by our counsel."
Let Patch save you time. Get local stories like this delivered right to your inbox or smartphone each day with our free newsletter. Simple, fast, sign up here.