“We’re going to bring back our principal.”
These were the words of students at the High School of Construction Trades, Engineering and Architecture in Ozone Park after Quintin Cedeno was terminated for allegedly soliciting sexual acts from students.
Cedeno, 33, who was not tenured, was also a basketball coach, say pupils.
According to published reports, a 15-year-old male told a guidance counselor that he had been solicited for oral sex. Text messages, reportedly as many as 100, from Cedeno to the student – reminding him of the gift of a T-Mobile Sidekick cell phone – also allegedly ask for sexual favors.
The guidance counselor informed investigators and Cedeno was fired on Wednesday, January 6, though students say he “left a while back.”
Other allegations claim that Cedeno – who refutes the claims and reportedly said he never called students after 9 p.m. – touched students’ private parts, though he reportedly said these and other references were in jest.
“There has to be some truth behind this but I think it’s being escalated,” said a junior at the school on Thursday, January 7.
Administrators at the school refused comment, though they did say that classes were proceeding as usual.
Students told The Courier that the incident was being swept under the rug and had not been addressed.
“I though it was sort of harmless,” said an 11-grader, who noted that he had not heard nor witnessed anything out of the usual.
Another teen said, “He was a friendly guy, not serious. He cared about our grades.”
According to the Department of Education (DOE), Cedeno was hired in September 2003 at Transit Tech Career and Technical Educational High School, where he was a math teacher. On June 16, 2004, he was appointed as an Assistant Principal at Automotive HS. On July 1, 2006, he was appointed interim acting Principal at the HS for Construction Trades, Engineering and Architecture, a position that became permanent on February 5, 2007. But he was reassigned away from the school in October 2009. He was earning $140,074 a year.