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Should Teachers Ever Get Physical With Students? [POLL]

Distinctions in Urban Education Seasons Charter School security camera screen shot
Distinctions in Urban Education Seasons Charter School security camera screen shot

Anytime a school official is accused of placing a hand on a child, do you feel the the school official be suspended with pay pending the outcome of an investigation….or should they be able to stay on the job?

Here are a couple of cases.

In one, an Elizabeth principal is accused of choking a student.

An eighth-grade girl in Elizabeth has accused a school principal of choking her in his office after a fight among other students. The principal has filed a countercharge saying he was trying to break up the fight in which the girl, 15, was involved.

Christopher Mingoia, 35, principal of K-8 Lafayette School #6 was placed on administrative leave last week after the girl’s complaint was filed with city police.

Robin Gallagher filed a complaint on behalf of her daughter, Taraya Gallagher, claiming the girl was choked by Mingoia on May 23 after an assembly in the auditorium, according to a police report. The girl says Mingoia mistook her for someone involved in a fight and ordered her to his office. Once there, she told police, Mingoia told her to leave school and when she asked why, he twisted her arm around her back and rammed his forearm into her neck and kicked her out of school.

(Her story sounds fugazy to me!)

Mingoia’s complaint alleges Gallagher was fighting with another girl and injured him as he tried to stop her.

Mingoia will remain on administrative leave until DYFS comes back with its report.

Last night, about 30 people gathered at the courthouse for Mingoia’s first appearance in municipal court, protesting the alleged abuse, said Elizabeth People’s Organization for Progress director James Carey.

My take: District had to put him on administrative leave, but notice how the mob mentality takes hold.

In this next one, a charter school security official remains despite an assault charge against him.

Despite being charged with aggravated assault on a special-needs student, Lawrence Carpenter continues working as the security chief of a charter school.
Distinctions in Urban Education Seasons Charter School was founded by his mother, Doris Carpenter, who also serves as the school’s principal.

“The school says right on its website that it is against bullying and yet the man the children should trust the most is abusing them,” Nicole Carstarphen, the mother of the student, alleged Monday during an interview at her home.

On April 17, Lawrence Carpenter grabbed 13-year-old Yontre Stanton around the neck with one hand and held him for 19 seconds, according to a video obtained by the Courier-Post.

The video shows Stanton, seated just inside a classroom doorway, pop his head out into a hallway as Lawrence Carpenter approaches. The security chief grasps the boy under the chin, then bends the youth backwards in his chair. At one point, the video indicates, the security chief uses his other hand to fend off the squirming boy.

See it for yourself, then you be the judge.

A spokeswoman on Monday said the school has followed “proper procedures.” Olivia Glenn said the state Department of Children and Families had “completed an investigation and issued a finding which concluded that the allegations were ‘unfounded’.”

However, the state Department of Education and county law enforcement are still investigating a charge of aggravated assault brought against Lawrence Carpenter by city police.

Gregory S. Warren, an assistant regional supervisor who signed off on a letter that labeled the incident “unfounded,” could not be reached Monday.

The Camden County Prosecutor’s Office is reviewing the charges and how to pursue Carpenter for the assault, spokesman Jason Laughlin said.

He said the prosecutor’s office has no control over Carpenter continuing to work at the Federal Street school. He noted Carpenter has not been convicted and he did not have to post bail since he was charged on a summons.

But by the looks of it, wouldn’t you think some kind of administrative leave would be in order pending the outcome of an investigation?

And by the way, we can’t fall back on the “back when we were kids” argument!

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