News

Students Shocked By Arrest Of Paterson Teacher

Thomas Weir (credit: Passaic County Prosecutor)

Thomas Weir (credit: Passaic County Prosecutor)

PATERSON, N.J. (CBSNewYork) — A teacher from Paterson, N.J., has been suspended without pay, after he was arrested this weekend for allegedly offering a student money in exchange for sex on Facebook.

As CBS 2’s Kathryn Brown reported, veteran high school business teacher Thomas Weir, 50, is accused of using Facebook to lure the male student to a Burger King near Kennedy High School.

Police said Weir then offered the student $50 in exchange for sex acts.

Weir was arrested Saturday evening in the restaurant parking lot, officials said.

“It was shocking when I saw the news this morning,” said Kennedy High School student Ejoty Soto.

“I’m shocked,” student Wendy Jimenez said. “I woke up to it and I’m like how could it happen?”

Students said Weir works hard to be well-liked.

“He used to wear, like, all these good clothes and name-brand stuff, and to us, that builds a connection to us — and that will bring students to be close to him as a teacher because he’s got the same style or whatever the case may be,” said student Christopher Rodriguez. “But I just think it’s outrageous; shocking definitely.”

School officials say they only learned of Weir’s arrest Sunday, and were meeting Monday afternoon to determine the best way to handle the barrage of questions from parents who are understandably quite concerned.

“What our parents need to know is that the superintendent cares about the safety of the children,” said Paterson Public Schools spokeswoman Terry Corallo. “We do everything we can to ensure the safety of our children. I think this was a wonderful example of how we acted quickly, and the police acted quickly, to ensure that the children are safe.”

But some parents were furious with the school district.

“My son is a senior so I’m just happy he’s leaving soon,” parent Grace Perdomo said.

School administrators said there is a strict policy against teachers “friending” students, but admit social media is difficult to control.

“There are educational social media websites out there that teachers and students would be appropriately engaging together,” Corallo said.

Weir is charged with attempted sexual assault, attempted endangering the welfare of a child, luring a child and official misconduct.

Prosecutors said Weir used the instant messaging feature on Facebook to communicate with his victim.

Weir is charged with attempted sexual assault, attempted endangering the welfare of a child, luring a child and official misconduct.

He was in police custody Monday afternoon, and bail had not been set.

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