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Cleared of charges, Glen Head teacher returns to work

North Shore middle school teacher Aaron Kozlowski talks

North Shore middle school teacher Aaron Kozlowski talks about his plight after four of his students accused him of conduct unbecoming a school teacher. (Oct. 30, 2013) Credit: Newsday / J. Conrad Williams, Jr.

A former North Shore Middle School gym teacher suspended since March when his students accused him of watching pornography in his office returned to work this week.

The teacher, Aaron Koz-lowski, 32, who was cleared of all criminal charges, has been reassigned to the Glen Head Elementary School in Glen Head.

"I am excited to be back," Kozlowski said in an interview Wednesday. "It feels good to be back doing what I love to do."

On the recommendation of Superintendent Edward Melnick, school board members also voted to reinstate Kozlowski, suspended with pay since March 11, as varsity coach of high school lacrosse.

Melnick and school board members declined to speak with Newsday, but released a short statement. It said the district has concluded its own investigation into the allegations made by four boys, ages 12 and 13, and has decided to allow Kozlowski to resume teaching physical education but in a different school.

"This is deemed to be in the best interest of all by the Superintendent," according to the statement.

The new assignment, Kozlowski said, was a mutual decision made by him and school officials. At the end of the school year, he said officials told him they'll revisit the issue and see if he should continue to teach at Glen Head Elementary School.

"It's in everybody's best interest to have some separation," said Rick Ostrove, Kozlowski's attorney in the employment matter. "Aaron doesn't want to be around the people who falsely accused him."

The co-presidents of the PTA at Glen Head Elementary School could not be reached Wednesday night.

Kozlowski's ordeal began early this year, when four students told their guidance counselor that they had seen their teacher sitting in front of his Dell computer watching pornography and fondling himself on Feb. 8 -- allegations Kozlowski denied.

Investigators from District Attorney Kathleen Rice's office searched Kozlowski's computer at work, his laptop at home as well as his wife's and found no evidence of pornography, said Mark Gann, Kozlowski's attorney who represented him in the criminal matter. One boy has since recanted and two others refused to cooperate with authorities. The fourth boy continued to maintain the story is true. However, Kozlowski and his attorneys said the boy's story was filled with contradictions.

Without any evidence to corroborate the boys' stories, a judge granted Nassau prosecutors's Sept. 27 request to dismiss the child endangerment charges against Kozlowski.

On Tuesday, Kozlowski reported for duty, resuming teaching for the first time in more than eight months. "My colleagues have been absolutely amazing. The administrators have been wonderful," Kozlowski said. "The community has been overwhelmingly supportive."

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