A judge in Mineola has set a hearing to determine if a claim can go forward alleging a Long Beach special education teacher abused five students and performed a lap dance for them.
The hearing involving parents who filed a notice of claim and Long Beach School District officials, is set to take place April 29 before state Supreme Court Justice Anthony L. Parga.
The claim, filed against the district March 30 in state Supreme Court in Mineola, alleges teacher Lisa Weitzman physically assaulted the students, performed a lap dance for the children and put some in a bathroom as punishment.
“One school official called it the worst case of child abuse he had ever encountered,” said Queens Village attorney Gerard Misk, at a news conference Wednesday on the courthouse steps.
Misk represents the parents in the claim and said they will seek $25 million if Parga agrees to let them sue the district.
After they found out about the allegations in 2014, school district officials suspended Weitzman with pay. She continues to collect her $96,000 annual salary.
In a prepared statement Wednesday, the district noted that privacy laws for students prevented them from commenting in detail about the allegations but said they have “complied, and will continue to comply, with all federal and state legal requirements regarding complaints to the District about the possible abuse or mistreatment of students.”
In the court papers, the parents allege Weitzman violated school district policy by placing a child in a bathroom for a “time out” period and stomped on one student and threw another.
Weitzman’s Garden City lawyer Debra Wabnik described her client in a statement Wednesday as “a dedicated teacher who was loved by her students and their parents. She vehemently denies doing anything to harm these children, but rather she fought to get them services and rights which the District failed to provide.”
Wabnik said her client filed a notice of claim against the district in November, 2015 “for falsifying charges against her in retaliation for her constant advocacy for her students.”
No information was available about the status of Weitzman’s claim against the district.
A school district public hearing that began in early March to decide whether Weitzman should be fired is scheduled to continue 10 a.m. Thursday at Nike Alternative School in Lido Beach.