Beloved Harlem School Principal Reports Death Threats From Ex-“Lesbian Lover,” Gets Fired

So! In Harlem, New York, there’s been a “sex scandal” of some sort, according to 565 newspapers. If you live in New York City you may have been greeted on your otherwise sunlight-soaked crossword-puzzling Sunday Morning with The New York Post’s tasteful headline: LEARNING A LEZZIN’. So cute. Get it? LEZZIN’? LOL. IT’S LIKE “LESSON” BUT GAY. And like, they’re “learning”? Like to not have a “lesbian affair”? And like, if you do? Want to have a lesbian affair? I would suggest that you keep it to yourself. Because if your ex threatens to kill you, you might get fired:

A principal in New York has been removed from her position after she revealed to her school board that she had been conducting a secret affair with her deputy principal.

A report into the incident revealed that the principal only brought up the liaison because her now ex-lover had allegedly threatened her.

Thank GOD that deputy principal threatened to kill the principal, otherwise the student body might not be aware that clambaking was happening within the walls of their school.  This isn’t Glee or something where Mr. Shue can bump/grind his Gleeksters and the gym teacher can marry the guidance counselor, this is REAL LIFE where two consenting adults over the age of 35 who work together never like each other or have sex. I mean come on. Who meets people at work when you could just meet people at Applebees AFTER WORK over a nice bowl of Santa Fe Chicken Salad. Seriously, I would marry that salad if I could marry a salad, which I imagine I could do in Iowa if I hadn’t already used my one free trip to the courthouse to marry my kitten.

Anyhow, this is what happened, but in different, more specific words:

A beloved Harlem principal was yanked from her post after she had a lesbian romance with an assistant principal – then gave her a lousy review, investigators said.

Crystal Simmons, founding principal of the Academy for Social Action, turned to officials for help after her former lover, Candy Jones, threatened to murder her, the special schools investigator’s office said in a report.

I know. It’s weird. Like if your ex-boyfriend threatened to kill you, do you think that you’d get fired, or do you think that people might be worried about that dude killing you? Like if he said he had a gun? Even if you were totally lying and made the whole thing up (but really why would you do that and risk losing your job, you know?), people might even be alarmed by the story, right, imagining the possibilities? They might take steps to protect you because the chance that you’re telling the truth is important.

[Sidenote: I can’t believe this woman’s name is Candy Jones. Have you ever heard of Candy Jones the model who says she was used as a guinea pig for mind control experiments executed by the CIA? Probably not. She was 6’4!]

Let’s talk about Crystal Simmons for a minute. Crystal is a bit of a “beacon of light” for her community and the founder of a school called The Academy of Social Action. This College Board-sponsored school focuses on college preparation and community service as it aims to “cultivate, educate, and graduate tomorrow’s leaders while inspiring them to shape the many communities in which they reside” and guides its students to “become college-bound family and community leaders who are concerned for the rights and welfare of others, socially responsible, and confident in their capacity to make a difference.”

Basically, Crystal Simmons is IN CHARGE OF EDUCATING CHILDREN WHICH IS THE MOST IMPORTANT JOB IN THE WORLD. And she’s good at it. And although it appears she engaged in sexual conduct on school property, which is bad bad bad and against the rules, the circumstances of this situation seem to hardly warrant an official firing. From The New York Post:

Students at the Academy for Social Action said they had no idea the two administrators were having an affair. About 60 of them protested Friday morning for Simmons’ return.

“I don’t why they would remove her for a personal reason,” said Raheim Cruz, a 10th grader from Harlem. “The school doesn’t want to answer any of our questions.”

Cruz said he did not know that Simmons and Jones had an affair during class hours.

“They did a good job of keeping it secret,” he said.

From The New York Daily News:

“Her main mission is college for everybody. We want her back,” said Kirsis Betances, 16, a 10th-grader, of the Bronx. “She showed she cared for everyone. …I told my daddy I’m leaving the school if she’s not there, and my daddy agrees with me.”

Added 10th-grader Destiny Tyler, 16, “She wasn’t a principal who sat behind a desk.”

Students were stunned by the racy allegations. A 17-year-old senior who described the principal as “a second mother” said she was “shocked” to learn of the sex scandal.

“I don’t really know what to say. My God, I don’t know what to think,” she said.

Apparently Crystal (she who is “embroiled in a sex scandal”) “emerged from hiding” on Saturday, though unfortunately for The New York Daily News, she “ducked questions about her lesbian romance with a fellow administrator.” Dammit. I was really wondering how many times they got to third base on school property. Learning a Lezzon hahahaha. Also, observe the usage of “hooked up” in an actual newspaper:

Crystal Simmons didn’t say a word as she rushed into her Bronx home a day after it was revealed that she hooked up with Academy for Social Action Assistant Principal Candy Jones.

The New York Post reports in “Manhattan Lesbian School Administrators May Be Fired Over On-the-Job Fling” that Simmons’ account has been collaborated:

According to the report, the school’s Community Associate Chante Alexander confirmed that Jones threatened to kill Simmons.

“Jones explained to Alexander that it was easy to purchase a gun down south and that her father had already purchased one for her,” the report said. “Jones also informed Alexander that she had spoken with her sister about caring for her son if something were to happen.”

More importantly (via The Gothamist):

“We are currently seeking to terminate both Principal Simmons and Assistant Principal Jones,” for conduct believed to include sex during school hours, said DOE spokeswoman Barbara Morgan. But what do Principal Crystal Simmons’ current and former husbands think?

THAT IS THE SAME EXACT THOUGHT I HAD!!?!!?! Omg. When I read “a hail of firing requests and death threats” in that same article, my mind was already POLE VAULTING into “what do Principal Crystal Simmons’ current and former husbands think?” Because you know. It’s straight dudes that run the world and call the shots, so let’s go find them and find out how they feel. I thought men didn’t have feelings, but really, that’s neither here nor there at this point.


Simmons’ fist husband, Derrick Lilly, said he hoped his ex-wife doesn’t lose her job.

“They were on school property when they were doing whatever but I don’t want anybody to lose their job,” said Lilly, an NYPD cop. “The economy’s terrible right now.”

“She’s a successful black woman,” added Lilly. “I’m proud of everything she accomplished.

In other news, not a single news outlet seems to have any issue with the way they are reporting this story. That astounded me most of all/made me question if I am actually insane.

I should go to bed before my hangover starts. Happy Monday!

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Riese is the 41-year-old Co-Founder of as well as an award-winning writer, video-maker, LGBTQ+ Marketing consultant and aspiring cyber-performance artist who grew up in Michigan, lost her mind in New York and now lives in Los Angeles. Her work has appeared in nine books, magazines including Marie Claire and Curve, and all over the web including Nylon, Queerty, Nerve, Bitch, Emily Books and Jezebel. She had a very popular personal blog once upon a time, and then she recapped The L Word, and then she had the idea to make this place, and now here we all are! In 2016, she was nominated for a GLAAD Award for Outstanding Digital Journalism. She's Jewish and has a cute dog named Carol. Follow her on twitter and instagram.

Riese has written 3213 articles for us.


  1. hmm, a principal has an affair with a subordinate, and then gives her a bad work review, and the affair takes place on school property? I think firing was definitely justified.

    What if it was a male principal with a female assistant? Would you feel differently about that?

    • she’s not being fired for giving a bad work review (which she says was b/c Ms.Jones stopped doing good work after they broke up, which seems in line with behavior like making death threats), she’s being fired for having sexual relations on school property.

      • fair enough, I still think having sex on school property is a fire-able offense. Leaving aside the abuse of power/position and nonprofessionalism (is that a word?).

        • they’re both consenting adults. do we really think that sexual relationships never happen between consenting adults who work together? i’m mostly just bothered by the fact that she reported that her life had been threatened, and nobody seems to give a shit, they’re just glad SOMEHOW they were informed that she was having an affair with a co-worker.

          also maybe if homosexuality was more acceptable by society, they could have found a better location for their “affair.”

          • Having an affair with a co-worker is not the problem. Sex on the school campus is wrong. Students would be punished for doing that with expulsion or sent to AEP. So yes she should have been fired.

            Come on Riese, homosexuality not being widely accepted by society is not an excuse to use the school as a location to get busy. Have they never heard of hotels or cars?

          • It is way easier to have sex on a desk then in a car, and most ppl who live in harlem don’t have cars because they take the subway. also hotels in nyc are like $300 a night. i’m serious it is hard to find a place to have an affair in harlem.

            I’m not saying she shouldn’t get fired or suspended. That’s not really my business, although I think its’ dumb b/c it happens all the time, and everyone should get over it.

            I just can’t believe that the response to her reporting a threat to her life was to scream about lesbian sex. It’s like why prostitutes can’t report being raped. I know that’s an extreme example, but you know what I mean? She also took a risk in reporting that Candy wasn’t doing her job right — and in my book, if you can’t handle the emotional fallout of an affair at work and you start acting out at work because of it, then you should get fired/disciplined, as Crystal attempted to do by reporting Candy’s poor work ethic and she did this for the overall well-being of her school. Certainly it didn’t help her in any way. Consequently, she put her own ass on the line to protect herself and the school, and instead is getting fired and her face all over the papers for a lesbian love affair.

          • wait jk i just realized that i said in the article that this thing shouldn’t warrant an official firing. clearly i was drunk when i wrote this. i’m going to think about whether or not I agree or disagree with myself and get back to you.

          • Yes, I know everyone has sex at school. I have even done it in the hallway and other places. BUT you have to not get caught. She did. She has to face the consequences.

          • She didn’t, though, at least not exactly… I’m assuming it all came out when she told people about the death threats.

  2. Ridiculousness of how this article has been reported on aside, I’d be more inclined to side with the principal if i knew for sure the negative work review was motivated by actual job performance. Abuse of power and poor judgment anyone?

    I don’t actually think she should have been fired though, put on probation/suspension/etc probs, but then again i don’t take the ethical hardline when it comes to issues of consenting adults/ consenting teenagers getting their rocks off.

  3. also,
    unrelated to this story (sorry)
    how do I get a profile picture, I am tired of the wee lil doggie/playboy bunny

  4. OK,

    1) regardless of what either parties did/didn’t do, the reporting on this sucked. riese is right about that.

    2) this woman would not be the first or last principal to do something like this. however, she’s definitely being singled out in terms of the publicity and the level of shock because of her sexual orientation.

    3) that said, in an ideal world people should maintain a professional relationship at work regardless of what’s going on outside of work. and also not have sex at school.

    4) but also we don’t live in an ideal world. people, even really great people who are excellent role models for the youth of today, make mistakes. s*** happens everyday.

    5) it sucks that all these kids are being caught in the crossfire. trying to fire two administrators like that is probably a major source of instability. you can’t tell me the way this is being handled probably isn’t affecting the learning environment. i think that making sure nobody kills anybody else and the needs of the kids definitely should come first and foremost over anything else in this situation.

    this whole situation is effed up. period.

    • For comparison, at my CATHOLIC school the head of maths had an affair with a junior teacher, which all came out when she got pregnant and both of them are still on the staff.

      • Yup, we had two married teachers at my high school have an affair with each other. Both still on staff. Two teachers at my elementary school did the same thing, they’re married now and still on staff.

  5. While I believe that termination is extreme given this womans record, I’m guessing that there is a policy in place regarding such things, and that she was aware of the potential risks involved…And on a side note, it’s becoming increasingly more difficult for me to get outraged about these stories when Riese’s brilliant writing leaves me laughing aloud!

  6. The coverage of this story makes me want to scream. I agree with this article. Whether or not she had a sexual encounter on school property isn’t the issue here, it’s that homosexuality is once again being demonized in the press and nobody is questioning it. Plus I don’t agree with above posters that a man in her position would have gotten the same punishment. Men are caught in sex scandals all the time that don’t end in the termination of their jobs. Look at the former president of our country for Christ’s sake. Not that I believe it’s okay if people feel they’ve been taken advantage of in the workplace (though I don’t think that’s what happened in this situation), but I think there are other things at play here in the firing of this particular person. It’s just fucked up.

  7. Instead of talking about whether or not sex on school property is a fire-able offense, I would like to have a look at her contract. If it says “you must not engage in sexual conduct on school property, of any kind, yo” then she’s out and I have no sympathy. Once you sign your employment contract you are bound to it and if you break it you lose your job, regardless of the nature of your offense or of the merits you have compiled during your time there. End of story.
    IF however, it does NOT say that, and it comes down to something discretionary by some committee or another, that’s where it gets interesting. Number one, that represents a failure on the part of the school board for not having enacted protocols for this already. But more to the point, is having sex on school property a fire-able offense? Does it matter who knew about it? Does it matter what kind of sex it was? What are the protocols for reporting interpersonal relationships between consenting adults who work together? To what degree did the relationship represent a conflict of interest? Ah, ethical gray areas, don’t you just love them.
    Finally, I agree that judging from the excerpts pasted here, this was handled by the press terribly. But at least her husband doesn’t seem to be acting like a douche about the incident. I think he comes out most positively in the whole shebang.

  8. Do they actually know that they DID have sex on school property? Or is that just an assumption? Just because they work together doesn’t necessarily mean that they got it on AT work together.

  9. I don’t get it guys, how could two lesbians get fired for having sex on school property when we ALL know lesbians can’t even have sex?! That settles the case for me, wrongful termination obvs.

    • What does “hooked up” even mean? kissing? petting? third base? It’s one of those vague terms people use so no one knows exactly what you did with who. I’m pretty sure we know what Simmons and Jones did. SEX! This article has me completely annoyed with contemporary journalism.

  10. Pingback: BiFemLounge.Com » Beloved Harlem School Principal Reports Death Threats From Ex-”Lesbian Lover … – Autostraddle

  11. Sometimes I wonder if the Post keeps someone on staff solely for the purpose of creating these clever, clever headlines. Keep up the good work.

  12. So, like, the first thing I took from this was that I think you should come to the Applebee’s in Mundelein, IL, and my girlfriend and I will give you ALL THE FREE SANTA FE CHICKEN SALAD YOU CAN EAT.

    The second was that people are fucking stupid and it shouldn’t surprise me anymore but it still does and how sad is that?

  13. Here’s my understanding of the assholishness going on here:

    1. News coverage: homophobic, outrageous, all out of proportion. nothing new about the New York Post, here.

    2. How the school handled it: Probably legit, since I’m pretty sure if I had sex of any kind at my school (I teach public school in nyc) I’d be fired. And that’s ok, I’d physically wound ANYONE who set an example like that for my students. I mean, ew. Kids learn there.

    3. How the death threat got ignored by everybody: flagrantly sexist. I mean, obviously women are not to be taken seriously when they very specifically/in detail threaten to kill someone. She must just be on the rag, or something.

    Had this been a male principal and a female deputy principal, the deputy would have been painted as crazy/obsessive and probably just be fired herself. OR she’d just have sued his ass for sexual harassment. Female principal and male deputy: the dude would be in jail and the principal would be a victim. Two women? Ignore everything, they had sex, people. WOW.

  14. Aww, shucks. Thanks. Anytime. etc.

    But…making sense of nonsense, is like, my job. I did mention I work in a public school, right?

    But thanks for bringing this outrageous nest of bullshit in bullshit to my attention. Despite living a few miles from this school and working in the school system, I had managed not to hear about it. It might be my intentional blindness wrt the post. who knows.

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