More than a hundred people demonstrated Wednesday night in support of a Merrick middle school teacher and coach who claims he was forced to resign after appearing on a reality TV show.
Stefan Serie, 30, said he appeared shirtless at a pool party in a scene in the June 2 episode of the Bravo show "Princesses: Long Island."
On June 18, he said Bellmore-Merrick Central School District administrators and union representatives, citing the show, told him he would be fired if he didn't resign.
"I was coerced into resigning," said Serie, who taught health and coached football, track and wrestling at Merrick Avenue Middle School for the past three years.
District Superintendent John DeTommaso confirmed that Serie has resigned, but declined further comment, calling it "a matter of personnel." School board members also declined to comment.
Serie's attorney, Joseph Kilada, said he intends to sue the district if his client isn't reinstated.
Kilada said the school's policy states that a teacher's personal life is not grounds for discipline as long as it doesn't affect his or her ability to teach.
Said Serie: "This is more than a job; this is my life. I'm devastated."
Parents and students gathered Wednesday night before a scheduled school board meeting at Brookside Elementary in North Merrick.
"He's a fantastic role model and mentor," said Christine Grassman, who credits Serie for getting her disabled son interested in wrestling.
Dozens of people later took turns addressing the board, questioning Serie's dismissal. Board members did not respond to the inquiries.