Question A Teacher, Get Arrested?
Jan. 29, 2016 (Mimesis Law) — Vincent Nemorin wanted answers as to why his son came home from school with his pants soiled in feces. Asking his son’s second-grade teacher about it the next day gave Nemorin a shiny set of metal bracelets, criminal charges, and an order of protection barring him from picking up or dropping his son off at school.
Vincent Nemorin was put in handcuffs after questioning the second grader’s teacher at PS 193 Wednesday about why his son was allegedly left sitting in feces for hours.
Nemorin now faces charges of menacing and harassment. He was arraigned in court Thursday night, where several fellow parents showed up to support him.
He has an order of protection against him so Nemorin will not be allowed to drop his son off at school or pick him up until the matter is settled.
Vincent Nemorin had every right as a parent to be “angry” when his son told him his teacher wouldn’t let him use the bathroom all day. We have no idea why the teacher wouldn’t let Nemorin’s son take the one, obviously critical, trip to the bathroom. Yet we know the conversation was “angry,” and the teacher felt “threatened” when approached about the event. The police said so.
Police say the teacher told them she felt threatened.
Because the teacher felt “threatened” over a parent’s demand to discuss the denial of his son’s basic human needs, and why the teacher thought it necessary to deprive the second-grader a chance to use the restroom throughout the day, Nemorin also sustained an injury as he slipped and fell into the police car. The “threat,” and escalation to an arrest by what were most likely “school resource officers,” now have numerous parents intimidated to approach teachers with concerns.
Parents say it never should have escalated to this.
“His father approached a teacher just to verify why she didn’t let him use the bathroom. He gets arrested for asking a simple question. It’s not her against him, it’s her against us. Could’ve happened to any of our kids,” said Stacia Gregorio, a parent.
“We are afraid, we are very afraid. We can come to the school and any issue I’m up and if you’re going to go and address it, you were going to be arrested,” said Maryam Genik, a parent.
Why did a discussion of whether a child should be allowed to use the bathroom end up with charges of “menacing” and “harassment?” I’m left scratching my head even looking at what degree of “menacing” and “harassment” an angry conversation between a parent and teacher would fall under New York Penal Law.
Because those two charges as articulated in the ABC7NY post are extremely vague, and not clearly defined, I scanned the New York Penal Law for the potential offenses. The best I can find are menacing in the third degree and harassment in the second degree. Assigning those two offenses to an angry discussion over a refusing to let a child use the restroom is a stretch in each case.
It’s hard to determine how a conversation, even an angry one, would cause the teacher to be in fear of “imminent serious physical injury or physical injury.” Nemorin didn’t threaten to attack the teacher, from what we know. He was angry in his tone, but mere words don’t hurt, unless you’re a college student in modern academia. Nemorin might have followed the teacher from room to room, angry and asking for answers if she didn’t want to respond and engage a parent. Nothing suggests Nemorin intended to “harass, annoy, or alarm” the teacher.
He just wanted answers as to why his child was denied access to the restroom for a solid day.
Vincent Nemorin also has an Order of Protection preventing him from taking his son to school or picking him up from school as a result of engaging a teacher. It’s unclear whether this is part of the criminal charges filed against Nemorin, but now the burden of taking his son to school and picking him up when the final bell sounds falls solely on Vincent’s wife, Yumi, or an agent they trust.
“We are just demanding basic health needs. Nothing extra. Children should never be restricted going to bathroom,” said Yumi Nemorin, Vincent’s wife.
Yumi says she never imagined a simply discussion would end with her husband in handcuffs.
Standard operating procedure dictates when parental outrage erupts, a Spokesperson must issue a response filled with double-speak and empty platitudes. That’s a natural consequence of police violence in the educational system.
“We take this allegation seriously, and are investigating the matter. Ensuring safe and supportive environments in all our schools is critical, and there is additional support being provided to the school to address parent concerns. We will continue to work with the school community to ensure the school is meeting their needs.”
When reading this story I thought back to a cartoon called “Parent-Teacher Conferences, Then and Now,” depicting a modern educator cringing in fear over having to answer for why a grinning son had achieved terrible grades. With the rise of “school resource officers,” teachers no longer have to be afraid of discussions over a “bad” report card.
The cops placed in our schools will handle that fear. They may strangle your child or use him as a punching dummy, but the teachers won’t need to feel “threatened” for any reason. Police are more than likely no further than a hall away, and more than ready to handle the conflict.