Mother of Sharon High student says school slow to act on report of harassment by teacher
The mother of a Sharon High School student says she first reported to the principal in October 2017 that her daughter had been sexually harassed by a teacher, more than a year before science teacher Brad Lengas was suspended from the school.
Lengas was suspended in December and then fired in February after he was criminally charged with indecent assault and battery on a person over 14 and accosting/annoying a person of the opposite sex. He was arraigned last week in Stoughton District Court and a not guilty plea entered on his behalf.
“The school has known for years about this and didn’t do anything about it,” said the mother, who says her teenage daughter was verbally harassed by Lengas. “This school put students at risk for years.”
Jose Libano, the school’s principal, has been placed on administrative leave, school officials confirmed Monday, as the school investigates the principal’s handling of Lengas’s removal from the high school.
Jonathan Hitter, chairman of the Sharon School Committee, declined to detail why Libano was put on leave.
“Dr. Libano has been placed on paid administrative leave pending an investigation into matters related to the recent removal of Mr. Lengas,” Hitter said in a statement. “Because this is a personnel matter, on advice of counsel, I have no further comment at this time.”
Neither Lengas nor Libano could be reached for comment Monday.
Sharon public schools Superintendent Victoria Greer did not respond to a message on Monday seeking comment.
In 2017, after she reported that Lengas had used sexually inappropriate language with her daughter, the mother said Libano switched the girl out of Lengas’s chemistry class.
When she followed up by e-mail about the school’s response to the allegation, she said, Libano told her it was a union matter and he could not comment about it.
In November 2018, Lengas appeared in the girl’s math class as a substitute,the mother said.
“I was really upset. How could they let Mr. Lengas substitute in [her daughter’s] class?” She said she complained again to Libano. “He said to me, ‘I can’t guarantee it won’t happen again.’ Twice. He said it twice.”
“I will not rest until this whole thing is aired and until the administration takes responsibility,” she said.
The mother said she is unaware of the circumstances behind the indecent assault and battery charge against Lengas; that charge is not related to his alleged behavior towardher daughter, she said.
Lengas’s next date in court is April 29 for a pretrial conference, according to the Norfolk district attorney’s office. He has been ordered to stay away from those who accused him and from Sharon High School, and not to work with people under the age of 18.