NEW YORK(CBSNewYork) — A 25-year-old Long Island teacher’s aide was under arrest on Friday, following claims that she used over-zealous face wiping to discipline a non-speaking disabled child.
“I feel like they were trying to sweep this under the rug,” Joselyn Beltre told CBS2’s Jennifer McLogan.
Beltre was filled with anguish over her 9-year-old, handicapped, daughter Krystal who she said returned from school with extensive bruising on her cheeks and jaw.
“I saw my daughter’s face, red, scratches on her face, horrible, a parent’s worst nightmare,” she said.
The Rockville Centre mom claims a teacher’s aide abused Krystal inside Hagedorn Little Village School in Seaford.
After visiting the family pediatrician, Beltre confronted school officials, but said she was given the runaround.
Eventually, after weeks of emails, texts, and phone calls, Beltre said the school relented and showed her surveillance video inside the classroom.
“Twenty-three minutes of the video I saw wiping, wiping, excessive, so hard with the paper towel,” she said.
Krystal is mute and suffers from a rare chromosome disorder.
“In the video it showed her head going all the way back. My daughter just helpless, looking down, defenseless, can’t fight for herself, can’t lift her hands up and say stop,” Beltre said.
Beltre went to the police.
Eight months has passed since the alleged abuse. The mother said she never gave, and now feels vindicated.
“Now, finally, today, relief,” she said, “She surrendered, turned herself in today.”
The school aide, Alexandra Chmil, 25, a college grad from Garden City pleaded not guilty to a class E felony of endangering the welfare of an incompetent or physically disabled person.
“When all the facts come out, I am confident that she will be vindicated totally,” defense attorney, Robert Harper said.
Hagedorn Little Flower said it was fully cooperating.
“We were distressed to learn that a teacher’s aide at our school turned herself in to police. We treated this matter very seriously and took all appropriate actions when we learned of the allegations,” they said via email.
Chmil was released on bond and is out of a job, but her attorney said a judge will be able to clearly see on video, there was no abuse.
Nassau’s District Attorney said the aide was also seen on video using the paper towel to clean the floor and then re-wiping the child’s face.