Harlem Teacher Slapped In Jail For Shoving 7-Year-Old Special Needs Student

April 14, 2017

A Harlem public school teacher was convicted Thursday of shoving a 7-year-old special needs student and was sentenced to 30 days in jail.

Judge Steven Statsinger found Osman Couey, 55, of Public School 194 guilty after a short bench trial in Manhattan Criminal Court. The judge then slapped the longtime educator, who has a history of complaints against him, with a harsher sentence than prosecutors had sought.

“This was a completely unjustifiable use of force,” Statsinger said before giving Couey jail time on the spot.

The teacher was found guilty of attempted endangering the welfare of a child, a misdemeanor, and harassment in the second degree, a violation.

Couey manhandled Ka’veon Wilson as the little boy tried to get back into his classroom on Dec. 23, 2015. He had been kicked out by Couey.

“He got into a fighting stance because he is going to take matters into his own hands,” Assistant District Attorney Chloe Kendall said in her summation. “He showed this child that it is OK to push other people.”

Couey’s attorney, Alex Lombard, said his client made a quick decision and that the child was disrupting the rest of the class.

 “You’re allowed to use reasonable force to maintain discipline in the school system,” the lawyer said.

But Couey, who began teaching at the school in 1993, has a troubling corporal-punishment history.

At the time of the Ka’veon incident, he had letters in his file for corporal punishment and verbal abuse. In 2013, he was accused of throwing a 7-year-old down a flight of stairs.

Officials did not substantiate the claim but admitted Couey used poor judgment.

A Department of Education spokesman said Couey will continue to draw his $105,142 salary, despite his conviction.

Officials have been trying — and will continue to try — to fire Couey, who is protected by union due process rules, the spokesman said.

Via source

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