The principal of a tony Chicago private school allegedly ignored a bullied 15-year-old, who then committed suicide — and the mother of the dead boy wants to warn parents in New York, where the administrator is set to start a new job next month.
Randall Dunn, 57, head of the Board of Trustees of the National Association of Independent Schools, has run the Latin School of Chicago since 2011 but will take over the top job at the posh Rye Country Day School in Westchester, the school announced.
Rosellene Bronstein, the teenager’s mother, believes Rye Country Day students, who pay $50,000 a year in tuition, would be at risk.
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“Dunn does not care about students. He cares about himself and his career. He’s a fraud. He is dishonest,” an emotional Rosellene Bronstein, 48, told The Post.
Rosellene’s son, Nate, killed himself in January. In April, Bronstein and her husband Robert filed a $100 million lawsuit against Dunn and a blizzard of other school officials and parents in Illinois, alleging their son committed suicide after months of relentless bullying.
Dunn and others “consciously disregarded” and hid the bullying and harassment Nate endured from classmates “in order to maintain their prestigious façade,” the Bronstein’s allege.
Nate Bronstein was found hanging from a noose tied to a shower in a bathroom at the family’s home. A month before, one of his classmates had urged him to kill himself.
The relentless taunting was in-part inspired by a false rumor that he had been unvaccinated, the family charges in court papers. Andrew Sanchez, a geometry teacher, also allegedly regularly harassed Nate, at one point telling him he was “going nowhere in life,” the family claimed in the legal filing
“I am warning all the parents of [Rye Country School.] This is going to happen again. Their kids are not going to be protected in that school under Dunn,” she charged.
The family’s accusations are “inaccurate and misplaced,” the $40,000-a-year Latin School said in a statement.
“The school’s faculty and staff are compassionate people who put students’ interests first, as they did in this instance,” Latin School said. “The school will defend itself, its faculty and its staff against these unfounded claims.”
As head of school, the buck stopped with Dunn, Bronstein said, adding there was no way he could not have known about the abuse and that it was her belief Nate would still be alive today had a different person been in charge. It’s unclear what Dunn knew and when.
“They spent more time yelling at my son about keeping his nose covered with that f—king mask than teaching the kids to be inclusive and kind and thoughtful and caring,” she said.
The school downplayed her son’s situation because he was white, the mom contended.
“They are very focused on their [Diversity, Equity and Inclusion] stuff and all their progressive bulls—t,” she fumed. “I can assure you that if my son was black and this happened, this would have been handled at lot differently. But my son was a white Jewish kid.”
Dunn promised to investigate Nate’s suicide but failed to, and didn’t take action against the boy’s bullies, the Bronsteins alleged. To date, none of the alleged tormenters have been expelled, the mom said.
Rye Country Day School said Dunn told them about the boy’s suicide, and that they’ve been in communication with the principal and Latin School “to better understand the situation.”
“Student safety is of paramount importance to the RCDS Board of Trustees, which is comprised almost entirely of current parents. A committee of trustees has been scrutinizing the details of this tragic case and has not found evidence that would support the aggressive claims against Mr. Dunn or that would raise safety concerns for the RCDS community,” the school said. “Mr. Dunn has an exemplary, 30-year track record as a compassionate and ethical educator, and we look forward to him joining RCDS.”
Dunn made $750,000 in the 2019-2020 year in Chicago, tax forms show. His salary at Rye will almost certainly be over a million dollars. The school’s current leader, Scott Nelson, made $1.18 million in 2020.
“The loss of a child is an unspeakable tragedy and Mr. Dunn’s heart goes out to the Bronstein family. While it is understandable that grieving parents would look to assign blame, that blame is misplaced and the allegations of wrongdoing the Bronsteins have made against Mr. Dunn are completely false and unfounded,” a rep for Dunn said.
If you are struggling with suicidal thoughts or are experiencing a mental health crisis and live in New York City, you can call 1-888-NYC-WELL for free and confidential crisis counseling.
If you live outside the five boroughs, you can dial the 24/7 National Suicide Prevention hotline at 1-800-273-8255 or go to SuicidePreventionLifeline.org.