School officials in New Rochelle have yet to meet with longtime varsity football coach Lou DiRienzo, nearly a week after he was unexpectedly reassigned by the district.
The New Rochelle School District announced the move late on Wednesday, Nov. 13, saying that DiRienzo had been “reassigned from his teaching and coaching responsibilities.”
Since that initial announcement, school officials have been mostly mum on the subject, simply stating that an investigation is ongoing.
It is unclear if DiRienzo will be on the sideline this weekend in New Rochelle’s state semifinal playoff game against Shenendehowa High School in Middletown on Saturday, Nov. 16.
DiRienzo’s son took to social media to confirm that the district has not reached out to the suspended coach.
“It has now been (six) days and my father has yet to speak with anyone from Central Administration or the Superintendent’s office,” he posted on Twitter. “The one meeting that was scheduled was canceled without reasoning.”
“The City School District of New Rochelle’s investigation of the matter concerning Coach DiRienzo continues,” Superintendent Laura Feíjóo said in a statement released on Monday, Nov. 18. “Any investigation must be thorough, diligent and comprehensive for the benefit of all involved. We remain focused on completing the investigation in a timely and responsible manner.”
Since his unexpected suspension, students and teachers alike have come together to rally around their beloved coach, including a mass walkout on Friday, Nov. 15 that saw students march on the football field. The teachers’ union also rallied in support of DiRienzo.
An online petition calling for the “reinstatement of Coach D immediately” garnered nearly 8,500 signatures in just days.
“The New Rochelle High School Football Parents Association demand that you restore Coach Louis DiRienzo to his teaching and head football coaching responsibilities at New Rochelle High School immediately,” organizers of the petition wrote. “There’s no legitimate basis for continuing to deprive our students and community of his leadership skills and talents, on and off the field.
“We are sorely disappointed by your extreme, reckless mishandling of a situation that required nothing more than a discussion. Every minute that goes by without returning Coach DiRienzo to work exacerbates the damage you have caused to the coach, the students, and the community. The mental anguish you are putting our student-athletes through before the state playoff game is unacceptable! “
According to the New Rochelle Football Parent Association, DiRienzo “helped a student in distress to leave school with her parent.” The organization has also called for the resignation of Feijóo.
“Instead of quietly investigating the issue, as has forever been the practice at NRHS, Superintendent Feijóo chose to defame our coach and suspend him from teaching and coaching — and announce that fact to the world as though he was a criminal," the association said.
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