Merrick Teacher Caught in Princesses: Long Island Uproar

Long Island Princesses
Students and parents rally outside of Merrick Avenue Middle School on Wednesday, July 24, 2013.
Students and parents rally outside of Merrick Avenue Middle School on Wednesday, July 24, 2013.

A Merrick Avenue Middle School teacher who lost his job following his cameo in Bravo’s Princesses: Long Island is now in the middle of the latest scandal stemming from the reality show.

Stefan Serie, a 30-year-old health teacher/coach and fitness instructor, appeared briefly in the June 2 premiere episode of the reality show. Two weeks later, the Bellmore-Merrick Central High School District board of education stripped him of the tenure he was granted one month prior. He said he was then pushed to resign.

“They did one, two skits, and then he was done,” Clifford Serie, the teacher’s father, said at a rally for his son outside the school last week. “My son is an excellent teacher. That I know.”

In the episode, Serie – who was rated “highly effective” by the school – is seen in the background of “Princess” Erica Gimbel’s pool party. He asked another guest if he’s also a trainer, took off his shirt to jump into the pool, had a drink and chopped up ice for “Princess” Ashlee White. With his shirt on.

He did not say his name or that he’s a teacher. A fight between “Princess” Amanda Bertoncini and Sara Schapiro, a teacher and “south shore girl,” overshadowed his appearance. Serie spends the fight off to the side, distancing himself from the drama.

Clifford Serie noted that Stefan was on the beach last year when he was recruited to be on the show because they needed muscular guys.

John DeTommaso, the school district superintendent, said in a statement that Serie submitted his letter of resignation June 26 and the Board of Education accepted his resignation July 9.

“As this is a matter of personnel, the district legally cannot disclose any further details,” he said in the statement.

Serie has reportedly hired an attorney who is threatening to sue the school district if he is not reinstated.

More than 100 students and parents rallied July 24 outside the school board meeting. Board of Education President Susan Schwartz said that the district would not comment on individual employees, but allowed people to speak during the public comment section of the meeting.

Parents, wrestling team members that Serie coached, and several students stood up and spoke about the impact Serie had on their lives.

Christine Grassman, who runs the Facebook page “Support Stefan Serie” and organized the rally, said: “To erase years of dedication, of teaching, of community service over a shirtless cameo in a ridiculous television show? It does not add up.”

A Bravo representative declined to comment on the Serie situation, but a producer from the show’s production company, wrote to the New York Daily News, saying that the situation was “extremely unfair” to Serie.

Princesses: Long Island has already had its share of controversy. In the same episode that Serie is in, Ashlee White called Freeport “a ghetto,” which led to another protest. White later apologized.

Rep. Steve Israel (D-Dix Hills) called for a boycott, saying that the show promotes Jewish stereotypes.

And, most recently, Amanda Bertoncini told a model to pretend to feed beer to the statue of a firefighter that died in the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks. Bravo took the footage out of the episode.

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