NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – A New York City teacher’s aide is accused of inappropriately touching an 8-year-old girl, making him the eighth public school employee arrested on such charges this year.
Hany Abdalla, a 35-year-old paraprofessional at P.S. 84, was arrested Wednesday on charges of sex abuse and endangering the welfare of a child, according to police.
1010 WINS’ Al Jones reports
Police said Abdalla, who has been an aide for five years, touched a girl over her clothing in an inappropriate way and then he had the girl touch him, CBS 2′s Pablo Guzman reported.
Outside P.S. 84 Thursday morning, New York City Schools Chancellor Dennis Walcott said the allegations against the teacher’s aide surfaced on Monday and he was immediately suspended, reported to police and arrested.
“Once the allegation was made, we suspended him without pay right away and removed him from the building,” Walcott said.
But many parents said they were dismayed to find the media at the school before they even got word about what was going on.
“This is a surprise for all of us out here,” parent Noemi Arce told CBS 2′s Jessica Schneider.
“Our response to the parents should be very forthright and we always try to do that. That’s why we’ll get information out to the parents, a letter will be sent home to the parents who are not here,” Walcott said.
The school’s principal briefly spoke with parents just before Walcott’s arrival, telling them that more information wasn’t available because standardized testing was going on.
“My child’s safety is much more important to me versus a test,” said parent Shekeithra Foster. ”You needed to have gathered all of the parents and worry about the kids’ safety.”
Department of Education spokeswoman Marge Feinberg said Abdalla has worked at the school since May 2007.
Abdalla is the 16th DOE employee to be arrested so far this year.
Others include staff members at schools in Manhattan and Queens accused of fondling young boys, a Bronx high school substitute teacher accused of forcible touching and an aide in Brooklyn accused of making pornographic child videos on school grounds.
But Walcott insisted this isn’t an ongoing problem within New York City schools.
“Any incident or any allegation is one too many, but it’s not an ongoing problem,” he said. ”For the most part, our employees are fantastic.”
In the wake of recent arrests of DOE employees this year, Walcott has said he’s reviewed close to 250 educator files.
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