Preschoolers in New York were reportedly afraid of their teachers. A probe launched by investigators, following hundreds of complaints of misconduct from educators, revealed this fact.
Teacher Lisa Sarnoff has been slapped with two complaints about mocking a preschooler and also for corporal punishment before her retirement in May 2016. Sherry DeCrescenzo received a letter of reprimand for pushing a preschooler to the ground to discipline him.
Vasiliki Gorelkin also received a reprimand letter for failing to supervise one child who wandered off school at dismissal. Gorelkin later found the little girl and yelled at her as this was not her first incident, as per New York Post.
These are just some of the incidents taking place in New York preschools. City Special Commissioner of Investigation (SCI) Commissioner Richard Condon heads the probing body that receives the complaints and his office confirmed the increasing reports.
In 2016, SCI had 6,336 complaints of teacher misconduct. In 2015, the number of complaints was at 5,566, per New York Daily News. Apart from emotional and physical harm to the kids, other complaints also involved sexual misconduct, theft and misuse of school resources.
SCI spokesperson Regina Romain said the rise in numbers could be attributed to the expansion of New York's preschool program. "The 2016 stats were fueled by the addition of over 70,000 pre-K students," she said. "The addition of these students increased the need for more teachers, paraprofessionals and other various school staff."
Romain also said the public has become more aware that there is a protocol for reporting teachers to concerned agencies. Thus, more complaints against teachers have been logged in 2016 than 2015.
"We continue to use the reporting and investigative procedures in place to best serve our school communities," New York's Department of Education Devora Kaye said. The department assured parents its priority is always the safety and security of the students.
SCI sends findings of their probe to the Department of Education for the appropriate disciplinary actions. Some findings, however, are also sent to the police for potential criminal investigations.