Queens Teacher Removed Over Racy Assignment

Somehow, 'The Legend Of Sleepy Hollow' Got Shelved By Sub

NEW YORK (CBS 2) — On Monday night a mom couldn’t believe her daughter’s shocking homework assignment. On Tuesday she went to the school demanding answers.

And, as CBS 2’s John Slattery reports, the teacher who assigned the reading is now out of the classroom.

Angry parents met with officials at Robert Goddard High School in Ozone Park, Queens, concerned over a teacher’s assignment which they thought was far too racy.

“They were appalled when they were reading it. They were like, ‘Whoaaaa!’” parent Melissa Naprawa said.

Her daughter, 16-year-old Giavanna Grasso, was supposed to be reading “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow” for her honors writing class. Instead, a long-term substitute teacher, Nancy Filingeri, assigned a passage from the book “The Rules of Attraction” by Bret Easton Ellis, a novel spiced up with curse words and sexually explicit language.

“The homework was to find the most descriptive parts. The only descriptive parts were the parts where they were doing sexual things,” Grasso said.

A review by Publishers Weekly called the book “…adolescent fantasy of sex…” that “…manages to pack in a suicide, assorted suicide attempts, an abortion, and the death of a parent.”

The Department of Education said it was not on the class syllabus that includes works by Edgar Allen Poe and Ray Bradbury.

The book was made into a movie in 2002.

Giavanna’s mother found the passage inappropriate for 11th grade.

“I just don’t understand where the teacher’s head was in this when she assigned this,” Naprawa said.

The teacher was not at school Tuesday and was not at her home on Staten Island, where her father said he was unaware of the controversy.

“I don’t know anything about it. She didn’t talk to me at all,” Vito Filingeri said.

The Department of Education said that teacher will not be returning to that school and that her future remains unclear. The DOE also said the principal was unaware of the unauthorized assignment, which the teacher came up with on her own.

  • tryecrot

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  • Concerned Citizen

    When is Channel 2 news going to do a follow up to this story. If in fact you do one, you will find out that Gia is pregnant and no longer in school? How is this teacher doing now?

  • Students

    This girl is pregnant. Maybe if she sat up and read the book instead of laying on her back doing what is in the book she wouldn’t be pregnant. She gets a teacher fired because she couldn’t handle the words in the book but she can handle the actual things in the book with no problem. Does someone need money to support the baby? The truth will always come out. What a piece of trash this family is.

  • Lawyer

    Can you believe it. this girls is pregnant. As this TV time and blasting everyone about who’s right and wrong and what do we all find out. SHE’S PREGNANT!!! Can’t handle a book but knows how to do what’s in the book. We should call the news back and do a report on her know after all this.

  • getreal

    I see people don’t like comment and have report them to be errased. Fair enough. This girl hasn’t been in school because she is pregnant. She can’t handle a book but can have sex. Seem strange but the lawsuit comes to mind. Family has a therapist. There are issues going on in this family that the news and the public don’t need to hear about. Get a job. Get your act together. Leave everyone else out of it. Includng the school. Make money working not trying to sue for lame excuses.


    Hey Truth I say Channel 2 should check it out!

  • The truth hurts

    Where has this girl been. Nobody sees her in school. Could she be pregnant but couldn’t handle an explicit book. We all siad it was about money!!!

    • Amazed

      she is indeed pregnant.

  • Seriously though

    Psst – if your daughter is 16, she’s most likely kissed a boy, probably given a blow job, and might have already had sex. She’s almost certainly watched porn or read material that discusses sex. I read Rules of Attraction at 17. None of it was shocking. This mom needs to get over herself and stop coddling her daughter. (Psst – she’s going to be in college soon, where she will almost certainly get drunk and have sex. Welcome to the 21st century, folks.)

  • J.J.T.

    Melissa is someone that I know through someone else. Someone that she made cry and did horrible, repulsive things to. 1Man1968 Why do they have a therapist in their home if everything is fine? Which parents are you talking about ? All the kids have different fathers. What therapist comes on and writes about personal information on a public blog? My mother is a teacher and I can just imagine if something like this happened to her! Goddard students I am very proud of you!


    honestly we feel ms. f did not deserve to be fired. we feel this was an over dramatic act. we also feel it was a cry for attention and was totally unnecessary. We think that Gias mom should have just went to the school & not the news because it really wasnt that big of a deal for the whole new york city to know. this is so pathetic.

  • 1Man1968

    I would like to say I happen to be employed by a Private company that facilitates therapies for one of the children in this family. This parent is one of the most involved parents I have ever met and both her and her husband are the epitome of what all parents should be. The home is always clean, the kids are always groomed and well taken care of. This parent in question, Mrs. Naprawa has a bond with her children that I have not witnessed on many occasions, in my career (of 9 + years). I guess due to my kind of work I am more involved with parents who are not as involved. I can say with all sincerity the children with in this household are very well rounded, smart, caring, articulate and loving. The media’s involvement may have been overkill, but I have not had the chance to overlook this material, but as a person that has worked very closely with this family – I will trust the judgement of Mrs. Naprawa and say that if she felt this material was inappropriate. It was more than likely inappropriate.

    I do agree that children are exposed to all different varieties of unethical materials, but that doesn’t mean it is ok. I am not a parent, but I do not expect school to be a platform to hand out anything that is less than appropriate. School is suppose to offer a learning experience and from my reading of few passages of this book, there was nothing worth reading. Hypothetically speaking, I would of been really upset if an assignment as such would of been handed out to my children if I were a parent, but that is just my sentiment.

    • doctor

      If there is therapy there are family problems. If there are family problems there are lies going around. I don’t have one firend that I know that couldn’t handle this book without the news involved. Get real.

  • Chris

    A.Grasso now stop it! You know as well as everyone else who has crossed paths with the woman in question that she is a liar and will do anything to destroy anyone. Let’s stop it now! Now we all have to act like we are dimwitted airheads and that the person in question had the right intentions and is ismart and caring. That’s not happening. Anyone who has ever crossed paths with her knows she’s a manipulative, money hungry, mean person! Who will take down anyone to get what she wants. Interview people who know her. I’m sorry Giavanna was exposed to curse words and is scarred for life now. Please! Love the explanation that she was on facebook airing this out and the people took charge and did this..Please!

    • Maddie

      Could not have said it better Chris!!! Though I haven’t personally been in contact with this woman, one of my family members have and the things this woman has done to get her way is disgusting. There is never a solution for money hungry people. Nothing is ever enough. She is definitely not a nice person! On the other hand I do feel bad for the daughter. She can’t control her mother’s erratic behavior. People who know her know this is just like her. I would not be surprised if the mother had a problem with the teacher and turn this thing into a revenge thing. I wish Giavanna well. I hope she can get through this mess.

  • motherof4

    I agree the teacher was wrong. No doubt. But you and your family can’t get mad at any posts on here because you made your business public. If you follow what goes on in my house stays in my house, you wouldn’t have exposed you or your family to the comments on this post. And why would you put something you find so demeaning for your daughter on facebook. People post to much personal business on facebook. So expect riddicule. Plus everyone is entitled to their opinion. You allowed the news to have this story, so you have to deal with the comments.

  • Jenna

    Let me guess. Now the mother is going to sue the school district, but it’s not about the money, right?

  • mama

    @ A. Grasso Taking an interest in your child’s education does not mean allowing channel 2 news to come into your home and interview your daughter BEFORE ever actually speaking to the teacher and/or administrators. As a teacher, wouldn’t you hope a parent would come to you and your principal before going to the media if a parent had an issue with you? That teacher and administrators deserve the respect of that at least. The media is a last resort if the administration fails to address concerns. That did not occur here.

  • INJUN93


  • Parents

    I guess she can’t watch TV. Cartoon contain violence along with Tv shows with explicit content. Does she go to the movies that are R rated. She may not tell you but we are sure that she has seen and heard a lot more than you think. She is not the only honor student in that school that has heard or read a bad word. She handled it the wrong way its as simple as that. Nobody has asked the teacher about her side of the story. As a parent of children in that school I hope this girl behaves perfectly because we cant wait to rat her out. Its only fair.

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