Huffpost Crime

Teacher Sent Student Holiday Cards To Inmate Boyfriend In New York: Report

Posted: Updated:
John Coccarelli was incarcerated for weapons possession, and a teacher in Queens had her students send holiday cards to him, which the school deemed a no-no.
John Coccarelli was incarcerated for weapons possession, and a teacher in Queens had her students send holiday cards to him, which the school deemed a no-no.

A New York teacher is under fire after she forced her fifth-graders to make holiday cards for her incarcerated boyfriend -- who's been accused of possessing child porn and convicted on weapons charges.

Queens educator Melissa Dean told kids at Public School 143 to draw up 27 cards for upstate inmate John Coccarelli, because she "thought it was a nice thing to do," investigators told the New York Daily News.

Dean is accused of mailing the cards in December, which contained at least two home addresses of children.

Coccarelli was charged in 2008 after he was found in possession of 27 explicit images of underage children, The Wall Street Journal reported.

The child pornography charge was dropped when Coccarelli pleaded guilty to weapons possession and jailed.

A corrections officer opened Dean's package on Dec. 23 and reported the letters to her supervisor and the school. Principal Sheila Gorski deemed the actions inappropriate and reported Dean to the city.

City Schools Chancellor Dennis Walcott told the Daily News that Dean's plot was "totally ridiculous, absurd ... and we're not going to tolerate it."

"We're moving for that teacher's termination," he added.

NBC reported that Dean didn't get permission to send the students' work, and she didn't tell the students who the cards were for -- only that they'd go to "people who did not have a home or did not feel well."

She was transferred to an office in Long Island City pending the outcome of the school's investigation.

Around the Web

Teacher Had Students Send Jailed Boyfriend Letters

NYC Teacher has Students Send Cards to Boyfriend in Prison

Class sends handmade holiday cards to prisoner - NY Daily News

Probe: NYC teacher had students write to inmate

Qns. teacher allegedly sent students' info to felon boyfriend in ...