Upper West Side Teacher's Aide Arrested on Sex Abuse Charges
By Chelsia Rose Marcius and Patrick Hedlund
MANHATTAN — A teacher’s aide was arrested for inappropriate touching and making a sexually charged comment to a student at an Upper West Side elementary school, authorities said.
Hany Abdalla, 35, a special-education aide at P.S. 84 The Lillian Weber School for the Arts on West 92nd Street, was arrested Wednesday after allegedly making the remark to a female student, police and the Department of Education said. The charges were later updated to include an allegation of inappropriate touching, a department spokeswoman added.
Abdalla was charged with sex abuse and endangering the welfare of a child, cops said. Officials noted the incident occurred on school grounds.
Abdalla, who has been working at the school since May 2007, has been suspended without pay, a DOE spokeswoman said.
He was suspended Monday after the allegation was made, according to Schools Chancellor Dennis Walcott, who visited P.S. 84 Wednesday in response to the incident.
"We'll be getting information out to the parents. This is the normal process we have to follow," he said, addressing concerns from parents at the school.
"It's not an ongoing thing in this city. But one incident is one too many."
Walcott said Abdalla had no prior record and that all teacher's aides are subject to background checks.
Shekeithra Foster, the mother of a first- and second-grader at P.S. 84, said her son was briefly in the same class as Abdalla but doesn't recall the aide showing signs of inappropriate behavior.
She added that state testing currently taking place at the school shouldn't obscure incidents of this nature.
"When they try to hush everyone up about the testing, saying that's the most important thing right now, well that's actually not the most important thing," Foster said. "There should have been notes about this going home."
The arrest is the latest in a string of incidents at city public schools, including another male teacher's aide arrested at the highly regarded Upper West Side school P.S. 87 in February for allegedly touching an 8-year-old student inappropriately.
Four other school employees were also arrested in February for incidents involving students.
A teacher's aide in Queens was charged with inappropriately touching six female students, a Bronx substitute teacher was charged with endangering the welfare of a child, a Queens teacher was charged with sex abuse, and a former teacher's aide in Brooklyn was charged with making child pornography.