Lesson learned?


My brother, Frank Vetro, was the Hampton Bays High School principal. In February 2006, he was charged with seven misdemeanors. Four months later he was charged for violating an order of protection. Because of that charge, which was dismissed, he had to separate himself from his career [“Vetro Enters Guilty Plea,” April 3].

When I asked him if we could show the world the real issues, he said: “I want to remain civil.” Frank never complained about his predicament. He never cried foul when he knew what was printed was misrepresenting him. He hoped that people would see the case for what it really was. He did not make a fuss because he did not want to negatively impact the students and teachers of Hampton Bays.

That is typical of my brother. When his life was falling apart, he was thinking about everyone else.

The results have been devastating. He has been humiliated, locked up, separated from the job he loved, lost $500,000 and counting, and has been forced from his home. I asked him again on April 2, 2008, why can’t we unveil the real issues? He did not respond, but the frustration was clear.

He continues to hope that people will see things for what they really are. All he wanted was to get back to the profession that he loved and dedicated his life to. Instead, he rotted in hell for more than two years, while going broke in the process and shielding others from his misfortune.

I am not sure I know anyone else who could endure for so long with so little. Somehow he remains strong and positive because he is a fighter, a survivor. In fact, you would never know what he goes through because you are not aware of his entire situation. His pride would never let you know. That is why I am going against my brother’s wishes and writing this letter.

Anyone who knows my brother can tell you that he is the first to admit his mistakes. His issues regarding this case are issues between adults who were involved in a consensual relationship. Those are issues that many of us at some point encounter when involved in a relationship. Those issues usually remain private, between the involved parties. Those issues should not make him or anyone else a criminal. Those are issues he never denied.

The bottom line is that he was facing up to a year in jail on each of eight criminal charges, yet he will have no criminal charges and serve zero jail time. That’s eight misdemeanors to zero misdemeanors.

Didn’t we learn by now not to believe everything we read? Many people wrongfully assumed when reading the misinformation in February and again in June 2006. The articles proved that. Let’s learn from our past mistakes and not judge by what we read this time.

I have read the many e-mails, letters and cards in support of him. Everyone expresses how much good he has done and it’s a shame his life has turned so tragic. My question is why does it have to be that way? Hasn’t he sacrificed enough by “remaining civil?”

The way Frank has handled himself with grace and dignity these past two years only reinforces the type of leader and role model he is. We can all learn from his demeanor. One day we will all owe him an apology.

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