Two city schools have been rocked by separate allegations that teachers were involved in Internet sex and corporal punishment. At Brooklyn's PS 321 - one of the city's top elementary schools - students last week went home with a note warning parents that a teacher had been arrested for "sexual behavior on the Internet."
The teacher was not identified, but a Department of Education spokeswoman confirmed that Manuel Portalatin, 39, had been arrested last week at his Staten Island home for allegedly soliciting sex from a minor on the Internet. He has been reassigned to the district office, she said.
"It's just startling," said one parent. "It scared me."
PS 321 Principal Elizabeth Phillips declined comment, but Parent Association President Marcia Ely said, "It's a difficult situation. I really want my kid to go to school undistracted."
The school has been the pride of well-to-do Park Slope.
Meanwhile, police are investigating allegations by students at a Queens middle school that a dean responsible for discipline spanked them in his van.
At least four kids have come forward, police said, and claimed that the dean, using his hand and a dog brush, had spanked students with disciplinary problems.
He allegedly told some of the students to pull down their pants for the punishment.
A city Department of Education source said that the dean had been suspended several years ago on allegations of using corporal punishment and was transferred to a desk job.
The charges against him were eventually dismissed when the kids changed their story.
"He was reinstated for 'lack of evidence,' " the source said. "Now, it's happening again."
The students came forward Friday, sources said, and the allegations were immediately reported to Special Schools Investigator Richard Condon and to the office of Chancellor Joel Klein.
The students offered police enough details about the van and the punishment to be considered credible witnesses.
HAVE YOU BEEN|
TO THE NEWSROOM?
Return to this Newsroom date at www.nospank.net/news4.htm
Select other Newsroom date range at www.nospank.net/news.htm
Return to Spanking Can Be Sexual Abuse at www.nospank.net/101.htm
Return to Project NoSpank Table of Contents at www.nospank.net/toc.htm