Substitute teacher accused of choking 3 first graders

Thursday, May 24, 2012

A South Philadelphia substitute teacher is in hot water Thursday night, accused of choking three first-graders.

Monique Bourgeois pulled Mark, her 6 year old first grader out of school early Thursday to bring him to District Attorney's office in family court to make a criminal complaint against a substitute teacher.

It stems from an incident at dismissal time at Stanton Elementary School in South Philadelphia. Mark told his mother the substitute teacher grabbed him and two other youngsters by the neck with choke holds because there was some horseplay when he told them to line up.

"The teacher's gonna say, 'are you crazy?' Then he grabbed me by the neck and picked me up," said Mark Bourigeois.

"Need to know that he can't do this to children," said Mark's mother Monique. "I don't want him to go any where and do this to someone else's child."

School District officials launched an investigation into the events at the school on Wednesday.

"We actually have an eyewitness, an adult, who saw the substitue teacher grab the student by the collar, and we are working with Philadelphia Police and also conducting our own investigation," said Fernando Gaillard, Philadelphia School District.

The substitute teacher, whose name is being withheld, has been blocked from any work with the school district until the probe is over. He appears to be in hot water.

"You are not allowed to put your hand on astudent forcibly," said Gaillard.

"I actually use corporal punishment with my kids, I chastise my kids at home. I believe in punishing my kids, so therefore, when they go out into the world, they know how to act," Monique said. "I don't need anyone else putting their hands on them, especially around the neck."

At least one other parent is planning to file the same legal action against the teacher on Friday. A hearing on the matter is expected within the next 30 days.

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