🔴 Former students claim school "failed to protect" them from sexual abuse

🔴 Guidance counselor was told about groping, comments

🔴 Teacher was convicted of harassment, "offensive touching"

FORT LEE — Two former students at a Fort Lee middle school say their school district did nothing to stop a sexually predatory teacher, according to a new lawsuit.

Kaylie Quezada and a former student who chose not to name herself filed the lawsuit in Bergen County on Thursday.

They were groomed and sexually abused at Lewis F. Cole Middle School by special education math teacher Howard Sidorsky, according to the lawsuit.

Sidorksy abused the unnamed student in 2012 when she was 12 years old, the lawsuit said.

According to the suit, the student and her mother complained to two of the school's principals about the abuse. School administrators interviewed three other students who claimed Sidorsky abused them but nothing was done, the lawsuit said.

Kaylie Quezada (ABC 7 Eyewitness News)
Kaylie Quezada (ABC 7 Eyewitness News)

Quezada became a student at the middle school a few years later. Sidorsky began abusing her in 2017 when she was 13, according to the lawsuit.

She informed a guidance counselor and a principal at the middle school but they didn't take action until finding out that Quezada planned to file a police report, the lawsuit said.

Both former Quezada and the unnamed student continue to suffer from trauma and panic attacks, according to the lawsuit.

"Every time I heard his name in a classroom discussion or saw him, it would make me panic. After I spoke up, I felt invalidated and therefore ashamed,” Quezada said at a press event Wednesday.

Kaylie Quezada (ABC 7 Eyewitness News)
Kaylie Quezada (ABC 7 Eyewitness News)

Fort Lee Superintendent Robert Kravitz said the district was unable to comment on pending or potential litigation.

"The Fort Lee School District has a long tradition of academic success for all of our students by offering a positive learning environment for everyone," Kravitz said.

Teacher convicted of harassment

According to the lawsuit, Sidorsky was convicted of harassment in Hackensack Municipal Court in March 2018.

A Division of Child Protection and Permanency later substantiated Quezada's complaints against Sidorsky, the lawsuit said.

Sidorsky's teaching certificate was revoked in December 2020, NorthJersey.com reported.

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