Huffpost New York

Melissa Dean, Ex-Teacher At Queens School, Scolded For Instructing Students To Send Letters To Inmate

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NEW YORK -- A teacher has received a warning letter from the New York City Conflicts of Interest Board for making her fifth graders write Christmas cards to a friend serving time in prison.

The cards contained the children's names and in some cases addresses. They were intercepted by a corrections officer.

Dean taught at P.S. 143 in Queens. Last December she told her class to write the cards to people who were lonely.

Instead, she sent the cards to a friend, John Coccarelli, serving time for illegal weapons possession. Prosecutors say he was also charged with possessing child pornography but it was not brought to trial because he pleaded guilty to a charge calling for a longer sentence.

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Ex-Teacher Scolded for Having Students Send Christmas Cards to Inmate