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Multiple cases of child endangerment and childhood sexual abuse at NYC schools

John Adams High School where sexual abuse occuredAs attorneys dedicated to advocating for victims of school sexual abuse, we are deeply troubled by three recent events that have unfolded in schools across New York City, specifically in Queens and the Bronx. The following incidents demonstrate the urgent need for comprehensive measures to safeguard our children and hold perpetrators accountable within educational institutions:

  1. A 23-year-old Queens substitute teacher at Hillcrest High School on Highland Ave. near 162nd St. in Jamaica was arrested yesterday after he allegedly touched a 14-year-old student’s thigh and told her “If I were a student I would make you fall in love with me and have sex with me”. Jasskirat Saini was charged with harassment and child endangerment.
  2. Last Friday, another 23-year-old man working as a grammar school teacher’s aide at Bronx school P.S. 481 was also arrested after he gave a love letter to a 10-year-old student. Estevan Hamilton gave the letter to the student in the morning. The student showed it to her mom at lunchtime and the stepfather went to the school at the beginning of the afternoon to confront the school aid and punched him in the face. The police were called and the school aid was arrested and charged with endangering the welfare of a child and harassment.
  3. Two days before, on Wednesday, a Queens high school assistant was arrested for sexual abuse after he allegedly showed a pornographic video and told her “if you want to pass my class, this will have to happen”. 51 year old Michael Budhu also rubbed the student’s leg the day before he showed the video.

These recent cases of school sexual abuse in New York demand immediate action from policymakers, school administrators, and the community at large. We urge the following steps to be taken:

  1. Implementing comprehensive prevention and education programs: Schools must prioritize the implementation of age-appropriate curriculum on consent, boundaries, and healthy relationships to empower students and foster a culture of respect and safety.
  2. Strengthening reporting mechanisms: Schools must establish clear and accessible reporting channels for students, staff, and parents to report instances of sexual misconduct promptly. Additionally, robust investigative protocols must be in place to ensure swift and thorough investigations of reported incidents.
  3. Holding perpetrators accountable: Perpetrators of sexual abuse within school settings must be held accountable to the fullest extent of the law. This includes not only legal consequences but also professional repercussions for educators who breach the trust placed in them by students and their families.
  4. Providing support for survivors: Schools must prioritize the well-being and support of survivors by offering access to trauma-informed counseling services and resources to aid in their healing journey. It is essential to create safe spaces where survivors feel empowered to seek help and speak out against abuse without fear of retaliation.

As advocates for victims of school sexual abuse and childhood sexual abuse, we stand in solidarity with survivors and their families in demanding justice, accountability, and meaningful change within New York schools. By addressing the systemic failures that enable such misconduct to occur, we can work towards creating safer environments where every child can thrive free from the threat of harm.

Picture of John Adams High School in Queens: courtesy of Google Map