Today’s news:

Students back teacher fired from St. Francis

A number of St. Francis Preparatory students are supporting former teacher Mark Krolikowski through an online petition. Krolikowski told the media he was ousted from the school in August because he is transgender, but the school denied that claim as the reason.
TimesLedger Newspapers

A Fresh Meadows Catholic prep school teacher who told the media he was pressured to resign because he is transgender is being supported by droves of former students, fellow teachers and others in an online petition demanding the school apologize for its behavior.

The petition describes Mark Krolikowski — or Mr. K, as he was known by many students — as a loved and well-respected member of the St. Francis Preparatory High School staff for more than 30 years and criticizes the school administration for his dismissal.

“While we do not expect Mr. K to return to Prep, we do expect the school to apologize for its behavior and its ultimate decision to expel such a valued member from their staff,” the petition says. “In a school that preaches love, respect and acceptance, we are appalled to see that their lessons come with hateful fine print.”

St. Francis Prep is at 61-00 Francis Lewis Blvd.

The petition said Krolikowski would wear gold hoop earrings and fashionable clothing and had well-manicured nails and dyed hair. But the petition says it was never an issue among the students or parents until one student’s mother complained to the school about the teacher’s appearance in 2011.

As of Wednesday morning, nearly 2,000 people had signed the petition.

According to the New York Post, Krolikowski, a human sexuality teacher, said he was dismissed from the school in August after telling the school’s principal and assistant principal he was transgender the year before. He filed a lawsuit against the school seeking damages for emotional distress and monetary loss after attempts to resolve the case out of court were unsuccessful, the Post reported.

But Phil Semprevivo, a lawyer for St. Francis Prep, said Krolikowski was terminated for appropriate and non-discriminatory reasons.

“The school absolutely denies the allegations,” he said.

He said the lawsuit papers had just been served and the school was going to respond through the court process.

In the meantime, several former students of Krolikowski wrote on the petition that the teacher had been an inspiration to them and said they were dismayed at his treatment.

“Mr. K was one of the greatest teachers I ever had,” wrote Rachelle Gilot, of Rosedale. “He inspired me to fight and keep fighting against injustice. I won’t stand for discrimination, and Prep should be absolutely ashamed of themselves for what they’ve done.”

Reach reporter Karen Frantz by e-mail at kfrantz@cnglocal.com or by phone at 718-260-4538.

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Lou from Bayside says:
The majority of these parents send their kids to this school so that their children will be with their "own kind" eschewing the makeup of the public schools. Between this weirdo and the weird BB coach at Holy Cross that likes to watch the boys shower these parents might be better off saving their 8000,00 per year and trying public school!
Jan. 11, 2013, 9:31 am
Roberta from Middle Village says:
Mr. K is not a "wierdo" as Lou from Bayside notes. As my homeroom teacher from 1988-1992 he was never anything but kind, smart, caring and professional. Prep was a great school when I was there and hopefully it will continue to be. I wish the school and Mr. K all the best. I hope this situation is resolved in a way that respects Mr. K and the school.
Jan. 11, 2013, 11:33 am
johnny o from queens says:
there is a reason why we send our children to private schools so they can be taught in an atomosphere reflecting our beliefs and the teachers are paid by the parents and if they don t reflect our beliefs they should not be working there work in a public school
Jan. 11, 2013, 1:04 pm
Rich from Little Neck says:
The larger issue is directed at the Catholic Church in general and is whether it is morally acceptable and in God's vision to discriminate and denigrate people based on who they are. Just because a church says something is the case does not make it so. There needs to be some realization that taking these actions is harmful to the children that the school is supposed the be educating and supporting.

I went to SFP graduating in 1991. Mr. K was a wonderful teacher and a nice person who cared and taught well. That is what children need.
Jan. 11, 2013, 2:15 pm
Peter from Whitestone says:
SFP has in its faculty at least one other openly gay teacher, and he has not been fired. So maybe people might hold off on their insinuations and accusations against the school until the real facts come at in this case. This man fell down and hit his head a few years ago and anyone who knew the situation also knew that he was never the same. He may be a nice man and verything else, but he also may have had issues teaching the required curriculum. So, try waiting before you destroy an entire schools reputation. He might just be a bad teacher that happened to be transgender. It does happen.
Jan. 11, 2013, 2:32 pm
Golf ball guy from Glendale says:
What a FREAK
Jan. 12, 2013, 8:17 pm
Marie from Flushing says:
So much for love, respect & acceptance. It sounds like the folks that are slinging insults are being anything but Christ like.. I believe it is written, "Love one another as I have loved you". I don't recall it saying, "Except if your gay, lesbian, transgender, etc".

Everyone needs to stop judging, and leave that up to God.
Jan. 12, 2013, 9:56 pm
Florence from Fresh Meadows says:
This has nothing to do with being Christ-like Marie. If you are choosing to work for an institution that doesnt support your lifestyle, why is this a surprise? This isnt discrimination. If he is choosing to live this lifestyle and keeps it private, thats one thing, but hes in a Catholic HS where parents are spending thousands of dollars to have their children learn more about their faith and theyre not going to do that from someone who is open about his lifestyle. The school has every right to fire him. This isnt a public school.
Jan. 13, 2013, 11:51 am
Mark from Queens says:
I was a 2007 Prep graduate. I find it amazing how people who never knew him are so quick to judge. Shame on you. Whats wrong with his lifestyle? He apparently discovered he had gender identity issues. I wouldn't want to enroll my children in a school where LGBT individuals are looked at with disgust, that goes completely against Franciscan principles and its not representative of how people should function in the real world. Unless there was something else that he was doing which was wrong - which we will see that may have required disciplinary action, arguing that the school has every right to fire him for gender identity issues? Clearly Florence you don't understand New York State Employment Law at all either. But I really wouldn't expect you would anyway, your comments come off pretty uneducated and uninformed, it seems like some of you are just so deeply rooted in your own personal biases, it would be almost impossible to convince you otherwise using logic.
Jan. 13, 2013, 6:41 pm
Janine from Queens says:
It's hypocrites like people commenting calling this man whom they've never met a 'weirdo' and other names that are the ones that need to stay hidden from society. I'd rather a loving teacher that actually cares about his students than one that conforms what what society deems 'normal' who doesn't care at all.

And newsflash--all of those 'normal' looking ones are usually the ones with a ton of skeletons on their closet.
Jan. 14, 2013, 3:43 pm
Patrick from Bayside says:
The argument that because it is a private Catholic school that can make employment decisions based on religious beliefs does not make sense. This school is still licensed and regulated by NY state and still has to comply with employment laws in NY state. The crux of the lawsuit is that if Mr K was fired for being transgender the school violated state law. I am not saying the school and student body has to embrace his lifestyle choice but they do have to comply with the law.
Jan. 16, 2013, 11:10 am
bob from queens says:
do you teach your kid to grow up transgender or do you teach the to grew up hetersexual more power to sfp about time somebody resepects my values fire him i pay him
Jan. 24, 2013, 8:25 pm
matt from queens says:
bob you're an idiot.
Jan. 29, 2013, 1:51 pm
Zac from Queens says:
Remember when African Americans were in these same types of scenarios? It wasn't really all that long ago, and yet the racists are already looked upon with utter disgust. This is the same thing, it's just a different population. So go on and keep judging and undermining people, but I promise you in your lifetime, you will be the one whose children and grandchildren are ashamed of. ——, people are already ashamed of you. It's time that we got our heads out of our asses and into the 21st century. People need to quit being so goddamn judgmental of other people and their beliefs/sexuality/race/whatever. If it doesn't infringe on your rights as an American, or more importantly as a human being, then —— what you think.
Jan. 31, 2013, 10:37 am
Paul from Queens village says:
I myself had the pleasure of having Mr. K as not only a human sexuality teacher, but also as a technical designer for four years worth of school plays. It was an unforgettable experience having him as a teacher, and he put alot of time and effort into the job he loved so much. And before you use terms and labels like "Weirdo", maybe you should stop and think about yourself. There are those out there that may consider you to be a wierdo. You'll be missed Mr. K, and I am slightly ashamed to say I graduated from such a place.
Feb. 4, 2013, 1:55 pm
Rosemary from Queens village says:
What would Jesus have said about the way this person is being treated.... The people who think he's weird or call him any other kind of names, need to read the New Testament...
Feb. 11, 2013, 5:58 pm
Rosemary from Queens village says:
Golf Ball from Glendale, How can you call someone a freak. If you're a Christian then read Jesus teachings.
Feb. 11, 2013, 6:01 pm
Gina M. from Riverdale says:
All of you that are using juvenile names like "weird" and "freak" should really take a good look at yourselves. I am a hetero female and attended prep from 92-96. Mr. K was there and he was very popular among the students, moreso than the "normal" or "regular" teachers because of his passion for teaching and his professional demeanor. So now I must ask all of you who preach about your "values" who jump on the bandwagon that every male teacher in a school with boys is a pedophile, freak or has ulterior motives- What if this were your child? What if your child grew up in his or her own prison of a mind and body that felt wrong?! Would it be okay to do this to your child? How narrow minded must you be to belittle someone who never harmed a child or acted inappropriately that just wants to be happy? Happy, mind you, without infringing on others' lives. Not every man who has access to young boys is Jerry Sandusky. Where does it say in any religion, catholic or otherwise that it is acceptable to treat someone different and poorly as though they are not worth living a life as valuable as your own? I am an attorney and have studied the principles of discrimination, disparate treatment, as well as prejudice, along with pure stupidity, which we encounter on a daily basis. This is WRONG on so many levels. Mr. K was never a threat to the safety and welfare of the students at SFP and it is an outright offense against human nature and logic to fire someone because they do not conform to what others believe is so-called normal. Despite the nay sayers, I am completely supportive of Mr. K's journey to happiness as well as being made whole (and then some with punitive damages) by SFP being forced in a court of law to admit their wrongdoing and correct their ignorant mistake. All of you that believe that SFP was justified in terminating his employment should crawl back into your caves and not come out until you've thoroughly examine yourselves and your consciences.
Feb. 11, 2013, 11:04 pm
Brandon from Jamaica says:
Lou, that is the most ignorant comment I've ever seen. The decision parents makes about sending their children to private school is not to be with their "own kind" but because the public schools do not provide a secure and safe learning environment. Catholic school are just as racially mixed as public schools. In fact, Prep alone has clubs that express the cultures of different nationalities that are run by the students. If you believe public school provide a better environment and education take your kids to school in Harlem, Washington Heights, Jamaica, or Hillcrest and see for yourself instead of hiding in Bayside with your "own kind."
Feb. 11, 2013, 11:31 pm
Eddie from Bayside says:
Brandon, the only folks hiding are the ones who send their kids to private schools such as SFP and pay ransom-not tuition- to keep their kids away from the "wrong kind of kid." I drive by SFP everyday and it is overwhelmingly white- hard to give a number because these schools don't release any stats and are exempt from virtually all supervision. Many public schools are safe and secure- the fear mongering you have bought into is what assures these privateers (either religiously cloaked or not) a steady marked of kids at $8,000 each per year for the forseeable future.
Feb. 16, 2013, 2:15 pm
AC from Bayside says:
I sent my children to Catholic school. It was for Catholic values and education, not to avoid public schools as so many state. However, since my wife is a public school teacher, I would rather pay the money to assure my child is in class and has the possibility of learning then send them free to public school where if they don't go to class, no one cn do anything about it. And to Eddie, safe and secure? How about students making and getting phone calls during class time to arrange their drug deals and hook ups? Absolutely happens.
As to the article, if Mr K was not a harmful or hurtful teacher, his orientation should make no difference. If however the orientation effected student learning atmosphere, then something would have to be doe. Nothing is apparent either way in this case yet.
March 30, 2013, 8:10 am
Kelly the former Catholic from Astoria says:
This is just another nail in the coffin for Catholic schools and the Catholic church. More and more people are realizing that this archaic religion that takes its rules from a bunch of misogynist men wearing robes in Rome (now THAT is "weird") has little validity in this world anymore.

More and more of their schools are closing, fewer people are becoming priests and nuns, and eventually this ludicrous religion will be a distant memory.

So dip your fingers in the magic water, spray the noxious incense fumes around, and sing your unoriginal hymns now because it's gradually coming to an end.
June 25, 2013, 12:04 pm

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