A private school in Dix Hills said Tuesday morning that it has fired a teacher charged with inappropriately touching a 9-year-old girl last week at a supermarket in Huntington Station.
Gerry White, 45, of Wheatley Heights, was arrested at his home at 9:30 p.m. Sunday and charged with unlawfully dealing with a child, Suffolk County police said.
White was a math and science teacher at Upper Room Christian School. In a statement Tuesday, Headmaster Gregory Eck said the school was shocked to hear of White’s arrest and “has chosen to terminate our relationship” with him.
“In the year and a half that Mr. White has been affiliated with our school, he has never exhibited any wrongful behavior toward any of our students,” the school said in a statement. “Based on information we have received from the Suffolk County Police, the young girl involved in this incident with Mr. White was not and has never been a student in our school.”
The school said student safety is its highest priority so “we have acted decisively and proactively to protect our students” and fired the teacher on Monday after learning of the arrest.
White, of Conklin Avenue, was arraigned Monday in First District Court in Central Islip and pleaded not guilty, said Robert Clifford, a spokesman for the Suffolk County district attorney’s office. Bail was set at $1,500 cash or $5,000 bond, and his next court date is March 27.
White also owns a child education business called EZPZ Solutions, police said. The school said it has also terminated its relationship with White’s company.
“Our prayers go out to the family of the young girl involved in this incident as well as Mr. White, that the healing power and deliverance of the Lord Jesus Christ may be present in the lives of all involved in this tragic situation,” the school said in its statement.
Police said White followed a woman and her three children into the C-Town supermarket on New York Avenue in Huntington Station on March 13, used “vulgar language” and then touched the woman’s 9-year-old daughter on the leg and thigh.
The arrest followed an investigation by Second Precinct Crime Section detectives, and police are asking anyone who believes they may have been a victim of White to call 911 or the Second Precinct Crime Section at 631-854-8226.