Pols call for new solution to abuse at private schools
By Sarina Trangle
Allegations that Horace Mann School staff sexually abused students have inspired City Council Speaker Christine Quinn and Brooklyn Councilman David Greenfield to propose stricter hiring requirements at private schools.
They’ve announced plans to introduce a resolution urging the state to pass a law requiring private schools to fingerprint prospective employees, as public schools do.
Ms. Quinn’s office said she grew concerned as alumni began reporting additional cases of misconduct following a June 6 New York Times Magazine story that detailed three now-deceased teachers’ history of abusing students.
Former students flocked to private Facebook groups and the comments section of The Times’ website, where author and alumnus Amos Kamil said at least three more former Horace Mann teachers were accused of misconduct. Most recently, retired English department chair Tek Young Lin admitted he slept with three students during his 30 years at Horace Mann, a confession that was published in a Times story over the weekend.
Mr. Lin, who recalled inviting students to his Yonkers home in the 60s and 70s, apologized in the story for crossing cultural boundaries.
“In those days, it was very spontaneous and casual, and it did not seem really wrong,” Mr. Lin told The Times. “The only thing I can assure you of was that everything I did was in warmth and affection and not a power play.”
New York’s penal system prevents abused students from filing civil cases after they turn 23, which makes it unlikely that any alumni will prosecute Mr. Lin, who retired in 1986. Mr. Lin has since relocated to Santa Cruz, Calif. where he offers tutoring services, according to his website.
Horace Mann Head of School Thomas Kelly released a statement on Sunday, saying, “his apology is unacceptable and the behavior described is inexcusable.” Mr. Kelly’s note asked alumni and parents to bring concerns to the school as it crafts a “plan of action” for dealing with the accusations. After the first reports of sexual abuse surfaced, students said they were told not to speak with the press and a security guard interrupted an interview.