As Triton Regional High School students learned today that the rumors swirling around the halls for months resulted in criminal charges, several expressed their dismay over allegations teachers had sexual contact with minors and administrators covered it up.
The mood was mixed outside of Triton Thursday, as some students left school chanting “free Martinelli!” Others said they were disappointed that popular teachers allegedly engaged in the illegal relationships.
Math teachers Jeff Logandro and Daniel Michielli and gym teacher Nicholas Martinelli all face charges of having sexual relationships with students. Two administrators—principal Catherine DePaulo and vice principal Jernee Kollock—are charged with allegedly helping to hide the crimes.
“I’ve heard the rumors, and being in high school, I know rumors are rumors. But I mean now that the news gave all this attention and stuff, I guess it's pretty official,” senior Ryan Jones said after school Thursday. “Some people are getting insulted about it and some people are making a joke about it. But I don't think it should hurt Triton's reputation at all. We still have some of the highest test scores in our district.”
Jones said Michielli is a “great teacher. I kind of miss him. I was just astonished, honestly.”
Senior Tom Ritz said rumors about the student-teacher contact have flown around the school for some time.
“I was kind of shocked. But I can expect it, because all the students talk about those teachers, like how they would want to be with these teachers,” he said. “I think it's kind of funny that it actually happened.”
Triton is part of the Black Horse Pike Regional School District. The school draws students from three Camden County towns: Bellmawr, Gloucester Township and Runnemede. About 1,600 students attend Triton.
As school let out Thursday, Triton students found themselves surrounded by news vans and reporters. Some students happily gave interviews, while others hurried away from school grounds with their heads down.
The students Gloucester Township Patch spoke with reported that the teachers charged are popular and well-regarded. That seemed to add to the dismay many vocalized.
“Martinelli was one of my favorite teachers. And Logandro, he was my math teacher and he helped me out a lot every day,” junior Jake Lawrenson said. “Whenever I needed help, he was always there for me. I'm not happy about it at all.”
For more on the Triton teacher-student sex charges, visit:
- Suspended Triton Educators Still Drawing Paychecks?
- District, Superintendent Issue Statements on Triton Sex Scandal
- Triton Teachers, Administrators Charged in Sex Scandal
- [UPDATE] Triton Teachers Under Investigation