New York Teacher Accused of Staging Student Wrestling Match

Filed under: In The News, Weird But True

When the kids are fighting, have you ever wanted to just lock them in a room for a while to see which one is left standing? But while none of us would ever actually go to such an extreme, a Queens, N.Y., teacher and an aide have been accused of doing something very similar in their fourth grade classroom.

The New York Daily News reports that teacher Joseph Gullotta, 29, and teacher's aide Abraham Fox, 43, of Public School 65, have been charged with child endangerment by the Queens District Attorney's office. They are accused of telling two students, ages 9 and 10, to settle their differences by wrestling. In class.

According to the Daily News, the other kids in the Ozone Park, Queens, classroom were instructed to give the two fighters enough room to beat the stuffing out of each other, after another student was told to shut the door.

One member of Gullotta and Fox's fourth-grade arena told the Daily News that he and his fellow classmates were "laughing," and added that the pint-size pugilists "were fighting over some pencils, and they were bleeding."

The bleeding, according to the newspaper, was because one of the diminutive duelists busted his lip on his sparring partner's head. Fox, the teacher's aide, allegedly told Gullotta that the boy might need stitches, but Gullotta invoked the age-old school rule -- "the first rule of Fourth Grade Fight Club is you don't talk about Fourth Grade Fight Club" -- by telling the kids to lie about how they got injured.

This may not be the first time Gullotta has exhibited less than stellar judgment. Ten-year-old Jovan Ortiz tells the Daily News that when he was in Gullotta's class last year: "My teacher said if I got out of my seat, kids were allowed to punch me in my face."

This, allegedly, was a way to get Jovan to behave. Classmates allegedly complied by socking the kid in the stomach, which led to Jovan's mother filing a complaint. The miffed mom told the newspaper that "Gullotta cried and said he was just trying to 'toughen up' " her son when they met to discuss the incident.

Education Department spokeswoman Margie Feinberg tells the Daily News that Fox has been suspended without salary, while Gullotta is at a teacher reassignment center -- one of the infamous NYC Education Department's "rubber rooms." That's the same type of place the two female teachers who were allegedly caught nude in a classroom were sent to back in December.

Related: Annoyed Teacher Chops Off Girl's Braid

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AdviceMama Says:
Start by teaching him that it is safe to do so.