Parents outraged, former English phys ed instructor still has EPS job a year after calls for stiff penalties, used school computers improperly
By JOSH RESNEK
An investigation requested one year ago by the city and the school department into the conduct of a physical education teacher, the son of the former Chair of the School Committee, determined the school District should impose serious disciplinary action on Jason Abruzzese.
The same investigation, conducted by the Law Firm of Clifford and Kenny, LLP recommended disciplinary action up to and including termination, according to a copy of the report received by the Leader Herald.
It also suggested that his EPS computer be sent to the Middlesex County District Attorney’s office for investigation and possible prosecution.
One year has passed and neither the mayor, who sits as a member of the School Committee nor the School Committee, has publicly discussed the matter, which first resulted in the arrest of Abruzzese in 2019 for domestic battery on his wife and the subsequent results of the investigation of his EPS computer that followed.
Abruzzese was suspended with pay for over a year. He remains an EPS physical education teacher today.
The 2020 investigative report, signed and dated by Attorney John Clifford, reveals that Abruzzese frequently searched out information about anabolic steroids on YouTube and purchased anabolic steroids with his EPS computer.
From August to November 2019, Abruzzese used his EPS computer to access multiple websites that sell or review steroids.
The investigative report reveals he also used his EPS computer for hundreds of hours to watch 46 feature-length movies, and sporting events, and to bet on sporting events, and to view pictures of fitness models, viewing women’s Facebook pages.
The investigation found Abruzzese watched 64 MTV reality show videos (mostly half-hour long episodes of Jersey Shore, True Life, Laguna Beach, and Catfish), 50 football videos (mostly hour-long Hard Knocks episodes), and 46 feature-length movies.
“It appears that Mr. Abruzzese may have spent hundreds of hours over five months using EPS internet for his own personal entertainment and for his own illegal activity,” the investigation revealed.
The investigators wrote: “The content of videos Mr. Abruzzese watched is also troubling in light of other allegations against him. Mr. Abruzzese, who apparently battered his wife, most often watched movies about women subjected to physically abusive relationships. Mr. Abruzzese, who an anonymous parent has accused of inappropriate social media contact with 13-and-14-year old students, also appears to have watched a movie about a teacher’s sexual exploitation of a 14-year-old student,” according to a footnote in the investigative report.
In one incident documented in the report and attested to by Abruzzese, he asked 8th-grade school children to show him how to Snap Chat, according to the investigative report.
The investigation stemmed from a 2019 incident.
Mr. Abruzzese was arrested by Everett Police on the morning of October 16, 2019, following a violent confrontation with his wife on October 15, 2019.
He was arrested and charged by police with assault and battery.
His wife told arresting officers he had been using steroids for the previous two years, causing him to become more aggressive.
On October 22, 2019, EPS interim superintendent Janice Gauthier met with Mr. Abruzzese to discuss the incident. After this meeting, Mr. Abruzzese requested that Ms. Gauthier move him to the Parlin School from the Madeline English School.
He is now teaching at the Webster School.
Parents who apparently sent this report to the Leader Herald said they fear for their children’s safety.
They claim they have sent letters to their elected public officials and School Committee members but to no avail. However parents protested the transfer.
“We are not signing this in fear of retaliation on our children from Thomas Abruzzese, Sr. He seems to have a lot of power as Chairman and Vice-Chair of the Everett School Committee,” they wrote to the editor of the Leader Herald.
He ended up at the Webster School.