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NYC DOE Employee Charged With Forcible Touching; 8 Other Teachers, Aides Removed By Walcott

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Classroom (File - credit: CBS 2)

Classroom (File – credit: CBS 2)

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Yet another city school employee is in trouble with the law.

Community assistant Frank Ocasio, 34, was arrested at Cobble Hill High in Brooklyn on Wednesday.

Ocasio, who allegedly inappropriately touched and groped an 18-year-old girl, was charged with forcible touching. He has been employed with the Department of Education since 2007 and was suspended without pay.

Meanwhile, Schools Chancellor Dennis Walcott announced the removal of eight teachers and school aides who were previously found guilty of misconduct by the city’s Special Commissioner of Investigation.

The employees were previously kept working in the school system anyway, 1010 WINS’ Eileen Lehpamer reported. The removals came as the city’s education department retroactively reviewed roughly 250 cases of teacher misconduct between 2000 and Thursday.

“Something may not be criminal, but at the same time, these are people who are in contact with our students,” Walcott said.

1010 WINS’ Eileen Lehpamer Hears From Schools Chancellor Dennis Walcott

One teacher was accused of bringing a video camera into a boys’ bathroom and another was accused of playing with students’ pony tails.  All eight were found to have engaged in such offenses as inappropriate conduct, comments or touching, CBS 2’s Sean Hennessey reported.

“I have no tolerance for any staff member having any type of improper relationship, any improper conduct with our students and violating any type of trust that we have invested in them,” Walcott said.

On a conference call, Walcott said the teachers won’t be allowed in the city’s schools again and he doesn’t care what the teachers’ union has to say about it.

“Quite frankly, I’m not interested if they push back or not. I’ve made a decision,” Walcott said.

United Federation of Teachers President Michael Mulgrew responded by saying “The comments that he put out to the public, saying ‘I don’t care if the union pushes back,’ we’ve always had a zero-tolerance policy on this.”

Walcott admitted he wanted to fire other teachers, but a statute of limitations prevented him from doing so. The school district said it’s also unveiling an enhanced tracking system to help principals have more information before they hire a teacher.

Since February, seven Department of Education employees have been arrested and charged with sex crimes involving students.

What should the Department of Education do about this alarming number of incidents? Sound off with your comments below…

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