The teacher’s aide accused of hitting a special needs student on Staten Island should be investigated by the school system, not prosecuted criminally, his lawyer said Thursday.
David Pologruto, 61, told cops he “loves” the 11-year-old boy he’s accused of smacking on the hand and back inside PS 48 in Concord, police said.
“He pinches a lot. I love the kid. I take care of him I hit his hand,” Pologruto said, according to a criminal court complaint.
He works as a teacher’s aide for a special needs program in the elementary school.
Teacher’s aide accused of slapping special ed kid at S.I. school
“The police report says there was no physical injury,” Donald Fogelman, Pologruto’s lawyer, said after his arraignment in Staten Island Criminal Court Thursday. “I don’t believe this should be a criminal case. This should be handled by the department of education.”
Fogelman also tried, unsuccessfully, to convince a judge not to let a photographer into the courtroom.
“My client is 61-years-old with no criminal history. He shouldn’t be in the newspaper,” Fogelman said. “I don’t want people in the community to think he’s guilty just because he’s in the newspaper.”
Video shows Pologruto slap the boy on his right hand Wednesday. A witness saw him slap the child’s back, cops said. The strikes left the boy “disoriented and crying,” according to the criminal complaint.
Pologruto, who’s charged with child endangerment, attempted assault and harassment, was released on his own recognizance.
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