BENSONHURST — A veteran science teacher at a Brooklyn high school gave his students the heebie-jeebies during a class on the birds and bees by joking about them getting pregnant, city investigators say.
Rigal Baptiste, 46, lost his job at the Franklin Delano Roosevelt High School in Bensonhurst after investigators from the Office of the Special Commissioner of Investigation for city schools determined that he sexually harassed female students between October 2011 and June 2012.
One female student claimed that, during a class on reproduction, Baptiste peppered her with questions, according to the investigators' report. When she didn't have the answers, he responded, "Don't worry your husband will show you," the report says.
Another female student told investigators that Baptiste smiled at her in a "really creepy" way during a class. When she explained that another student in the class was pregnant, he said to the expecting mom, "You'll be screaming when the little guy comes out," the report says.
Baptiste then looked at the first student and said, "Now [she] is thinking about becoming a mommy!," according to the report. When the student responded she didn't plan to get pregnant until she at least turned 25, he allegedly retorted, "You better hope that boyfriend of yours doesn't have other plans when you're having fun with him!"
Investigators say that another student claimed that during a class in December 2011, Baptiste bizarrely explained in detail how a woman had to be in certain position to conceive a male child.
In June 2012, another female student accused Baptiste of whispering in her ear, "I hope you're using condoms," after he spotted her walk into class with her boyfriend. When the student began snacking in class, Baptiste announced that she must be pregnant, the report says.
Baptiste, who worked as a city teacher for 18 years, lost his job after an administrative hearing in April. He has since filed a lawsuit against the city Department of Education in Manhattan Civil Supreme Court, seeking his reinstatement as a teacher.
Betsy Combier, whom Baptiste asked to speak on his behalf, told DNAinfo New York that prior to these allegations, administrators had never disciplined him.
She denied that Baptiste said anything inappropriate to students, noting that they misunderstood what he said.
"The kids took it the wrong way," Combier said. "There was no malicious intention of talking about sex in the classroom."
She also said that sometimes students lie about what they claim they heard a teacher say.
"In any case, kids lie. I don't think they lie very well," she said. "What I do say is there is mobbing. Kids feel powerful when they join together. They go to the principal and they say they saw something."