A North Rockland Special Education teacher, Yessenia Vasquez, 43, of Garnerville was arrested Thursday, February 16 for alleged misconduct toward a Stony Point Elementary special needs student under her supervision.
The Rockland County Times has learned that Vasquez’s alleged infractions include placing a disruptive student in the classroom closet on several occasions. Vasquez faces the following charges: Endangering the Welfare of an Incompetent or Physically Disabled Person Child (E-Felony, four counts); Endangering the Welfare of a Minor (four counts); Harassment (four counts); and Unlawful Imprisonment.
Police said several students were mistreated by the teacher, but it is not clear how many alleged victims the criminal charges in the case apply to.
The school district had placed Vasquez on administrative leave for a month or so following disclosure of her behavior on December 8, 2016. When her leave was over, she was reassigned to Farley Elementary. Sources told the Rockland County Times that persons related to the victim were angry that Vasquez had been reassigned instead of terminated, prompting them to call the NYS Child Abuse Hotline.
The Stony Point PD said they received a complaint from the NYS Child Abuse hotline in January of 2017 “that the defendant, between February 1, 2016 and November 28, 2016, physically and mentally abused several special needs children under her supervision in class.”
North Rockland Central School District Superintendent Ileana Eckert said Vasquez was placed on leave when the district learned of the allegations. Eckert stated, “The North Rockland Central School District has learned of the arrest of Special Education School teacher Yessenia Vasquez. The criminal charges stem from a series of incidents that allegedly occurred in her classroom in 2016.
“This is an unfortunate matter, and the district is extremely disturbed by these allegations. The superintendent first learned of possible wrongdoing on December 8, 2016 and immediately launched an internal investigation. This probe involved interviews with numerous staff members, including those present at the time of the alleged incidents.”
“On advice of counsel, Ms. Vasquez was placed on administrative leave at that time. The matter was investigated and handled administratively. All appropriate procedures were followed by the district.”
“The North Rockland Central School District is cooperating fully with the police investigation and will continue to provide whatever resources are necessary and appropriate to complete the latest probe in an accurate and timely fashion. As always, the safety and well-being of our students is a top priority. Vasquez has been employed by the North Rockland Central School District since 1996.”
Vasquez was released by police on an appearance ticket returnable March 21, 1:30 p.m. Stony Point PD said their Detective Bureau led the investigation.