NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — New York City Schools Chancellor Dennis Walcott is dealing with yet another teacher allegedly misbehaving in the classroom.
Grace Peterson-Hagendorf, 59, was charged with assault Thursday and has been suspended by city officials for allegedly pushing a student in Flushing into her seat and twisting her neck with enough force to cause pain and bruising. She was arraigned and then released on her on recognizance. She’ll be back in court in April.
“The teacher will never be part of our school system again. So, the teacher was immediately removed and will be ineligable for subbing in any school in New York City,” Walcott said Thursday.
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This despite claims by the teacher’s husband that there’s no way she did what she’s accused of doing.
“She’s a very loving person, a teacher 28 years. She would never hurt a fly,” Arthur Hagendorf told CBS 2’s Hazel Sanchez on Thursday night. “I think the kid was domestic child abuse and they sent her to school and she tried to blame my wife.”
It’s like open season on teachers. Peterson-Hagendorf was the eighth city public school teacher to be accused of physically or sexually abusing a student since February. The growing number of allegations has become a black cloud over other teachers in the district.
“It’s very difficult. It’s demoralizing,” one teacher said.
“It’s terrible to think that the system could allow a predator into a school,” Peter Cohen said in reference to the plethora of different cases involving teachers.
“The Department of Education is the one that’s hiring them. What are they doing to stop this? This shouldn’t have come to this,” teacher Robert Fouche said.
Also this week, a federal grand jury indicted Taleek Brooks, a teacher’s aide for molesting a boy and recording attacks in a Bedford-Stuyvesant school.
“Those few individuals who decide to do something either illegal or improper, we will act right away to remove you from contact with our students,” Walcott said.
On Thursday at City Hall, several Council members and the teachers’ union praised good educators in New York City and stressed the importance of protecting our children.
“We’ve been very clear on this. The teachers say zero tolerance on these issues,” United Federation of Teacher President Michael Mulgrew said.
Peterson-Hagendorf has been charged with assault, harassment and endangering the welfare of a child. She faces up to seven years in prison if found guilty.
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