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Fort Lee Teacher Accused Of Stalking Has License Suspended For 3 Years

Fort Lee High School.
Fort Lee High School. Photo Credit: Google Street View

FORT LEE, N.J. — A former substitute math teacher in Fort Lee accused of stalking a student had his teaching license suspended by the state for three years.

Joseph Devita was charged with stalking two in November 2013 for his alleged conduct toward two female students at Fort Lee High School, according to the order of suspension.

He would go to the Dunkin Donuts in Cliffside Park daily hoping two of his female students at Fort Lee High School would show up, according to the order of suspension.

Devita also called one of the girls' homes and family businesses and would try to speak with them, and one of the girls' mothers called the police after Devita showed up at her house

Charges were dismissed in December 2014 due to lack of prosecution and Devita was removed from the district's substitute list due to his unsatisfactory performance.

In July 2013, Devita was brought to the hospital for apparent psychological problems, saying his anxiety was caused by his desire to engage sexually with two females, his former Fort Lee students, the order said, citing the Cliffside Park police report.

In August 2015, Devita admitted being charged with stalking but denied being removed from the substitution list, the order says. 

He also denied being brought to the hospital for psychological problems, instead claiming that he was having emotional anxiety problems because he was losing his friendship and his communication with the two females, according to the order of suspension.

He said he did not want a sexual relationship with the students and also denied harassing or stalking one student and placing calls to her family's home and business, state officials said.

Devita claimed his certificate should not be revoked as he showed up at the student's house as a one time occurrence, in fear of losing connection, according to the document.

"This behavior certainly shows Devita’s failure to maintain appropriate boundaries and indicates a serious lapse in judgment," the order of suspension says. "The Board therefore concludes that the appropriate response to Devita’s breach is a three-year suspension of his certificate."

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