They do things differently on Long Island. But enough about Joel Rifkind, check out the hottest schoolboy football story to hit the Good Rats’ stomping grounds to not prominently feature the words “pine cone” and “sodomy.” From Newsday’s Jeff Gold.
In a midafternoon interview yesterday, Riverhead superintendent Diane Scricca confirmed that Leif Shay (above), the football program’s coach since 1998, has been reassigned and that an investigation is ongoing. She offered no further information, citing policy that prohibits her from discussing school personnel.
According to a source close to the physical education program, in which Shay is a teacher, the reassignment stems from the phys ed staff’s decision to cover up security cameras that were placed in the gymnasium.
Cameras were placed in the school in November 2005. The source said the school’s teaching union filed a grievance because the school’s policy was that security cameras would not be placed in a classroom, and only in public meeting places. The source said the physical education staff argued in the grievance that the gym was a classroom during school hours. The source said the physical education staff decided to cover up the cameras after being frustrated that the grievance was not addressed.
“The physical education staff at the high school asked the union director if the cameras could be covered and they were given permission,” the source said.
The crux of the dispute is whether a gymnasium is a classroom, and therefore, whether cameras are a violation of the policy.
A handful of Riverhead football players showed up at a school board meeting last night in football paraphernalia, and all expressed support for Shay, who did not attend.
Connie LaGue, 38, whose son Jon is a junior on Riverhead’s football team, said during the open session of the meeting, “We were told as parents that classrooms are not under surveillance. Is that true or not true?”
When told by board member Nancy Gassert that the answer to her question was that it was “true,” Lague responded by asking whether a gymnasium was a classroom. Her question was not answered after the audience started clapping in support. Soon thereafter, her microphone was turned off, and she, along with various football players, walked out of the meeting.