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"No Sitting On Teacher's Lap for Challenged Kids" - Newburgh Teacher Suspended

NEWBURGH – Despite Newburgh School Board President Darren Stridiron’s contention that teacher Richard Desiderio falls under the district’s whistleblower policy, the majority of the board voted Tuesday night to suspend him with pay pending an investigation.

As a result of that vote, Stridiron has written to Orange County District Attorney David Hoovler to “look into this matter with haste, as the employee involved will be heading to an employment trial soon.”

On Wednesday, Desiderio was hand-delivered the charges against him including that he was observed with children sitting on his lap. The tenured educator told Mid-Hudson News that his students are special education kindergarten and first graders.

“They have special needs and they come, many of them, from broken homes, and they do starve for attention and affection and to be loved and to be understood. Do they jump on me or on my back, yes; they have deep affection for me and I love them to pieces,” he said.

Desiderio said in situations like that, he removes the child without having them think they have done something wrong. School Board President Stridiron’s letter to DA Hoovler said the latest action Desiderio “is another example of the school district acting with impunity against a whistleblower, similar to the situation in 2019 when both myself and Mr. Desiderio were retaliated against for participating in your grand jury investigation into attendance and grade manipulation.”

That investigation had to do with the attendance records of student-athletes being altered so that they could continue playing sports.

Source: Mid-Hudson News

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