On Wednesday, a science teacher at PS 70 in the Claremont section was arrested for touching a 10-year-old girl’s breast and showed the girl – a student of his – a picture of a naked woman two weeks ago. But police told the Bronx Times that 48-year-old Norman Dunkley may have instilled a “pattern of abuse” at The Max Schoenfeld School, as three more girls have also made allegations against him.
Police expect more students to speak about Dunkley’s alleged predatory behavior.
In a statement, the city Department of Education condemned the alleged actions and said they would move to terminate Dunkley if he’s convicted on the charges of sex abuse, forcible touching, endangering the welfare of an incompetent person and harassment.
“This alleged behavior is absolutely unacceptable – the safety and wellbeing of our students is our top priority,” the statement reads. This employee was removed from the school and students and we will work with the NYPD as they investigate. If convicted, we will move to terminate him.”
Officials at The Max Schoenfeld School did not respond to inquiries for comment before publication.
Horrified Bronx parents are concerned with a string of inappropriate and predatory conduct that’s occurred in New York City schools over the past few months. On Wednesday, in addition to Dunkley’s arrest, another New York City school worker — Brian Quinones of Brooklyn’s Midwood High School — was arrested for child pornography charges and in both cases, police believe there may be more victims still out there.
The 30-year-old Quinones worked as a paraprofessional at the high school – a job that put him in a one-on-one capacity with special needs students, according to federal authorities in Brooklyn.
“We trust these administrators to vet the teachers they are hiring, to not abuse the trust we give them when we hand over our children for eight hours,” said Lisa Porter, who has two kids in the school district 9. “And the fears and the sickness the families of these students are feeling — my heart goes out to them — and the city and these schools need to do a better job of protecting our babies.”
The city’s Department of Education has been embarking on sweeping changes to the way it investigates sexual assault complaints after reaching a major court settlement with four female students who allege officials failed to protect them from sex-based violence, including rape, in summer 2021.
Among the changes, the city education department will create a process allowing parents to escalate complaints when they believe school officials failed to adequately address abuse allegations, provide support to student victims and update school transfer policies to make clear that students can ask to attend classes elsewhere following instances of harassment or assault.
Reach Robbie Sequeira at firstname.lastname@example.org or (718) 260-4599. For more coverage, follow us on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram @bronxtimes