North Rockland Teacher Accused Of Abusing Special Needs Students

STONY POINT, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) – A teacher from Rockland County was facing charges Friday for allegedly abusing special needs students.

As CBS2’s Dave Carlin reported, police said the abuse happened for nearly a year.

It was bustling during afternoon dismissal Friday at Stony Point Elementary School. It was also a school day without one of the long-tenured teachers at the school.

Yessenia Vasquez, 43, was arrested after police say someone called a Child Abuse Hotline alleging she physically and mentally abused some special needs students. The abuse went on from February to November 2016, according to Stony Point police.

Vasquez has been a teacher with the district since 1996.

Police said witnesses include some who told them a young girl was put in a closet for timeouts.

Vasquez is charged with multiple counts of endangering the welfare of an incompetent or physically disabled person, as well as unlawful imprisonment and harassment.

Parent Nicole Herring learned about the arrest and charges while outside the school to pick up her 9-year-old.

“If you’re going to be a teacher, you shouldn’t, you know, be this doing this type of stuff with kids,” Herring said.

“There’s protocol. You know, teachers are supposed to be professionals,” said parent Jim Kocak. “You know, it’s a very stressful job and a lot of people can’t do it, but at the end of the day, you have to be a professional about things. That’s the way it’s got to be.”

Vasquez was released from custody. At her apartment in Garnerville, someone other than the teacher answered the door — and what was said was brief.

“Yes, there’s an attorney involved,” the woman at Vasquez’s door said. “Close the door.”

The North Rockland School District put Vasquez on administrative leave and released a statement reading, “This is an unfortunate matter, and the District is extremely disturbed by these allegations.”

Vasquez is ordered to appear in Town Court on March 21. It is not clear exactly how many alleged victims are included in the case.

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