New Hyde Park teacher tied up 15-year-old nonverbal student, parents claim

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New Hyde Park teacher tied up 15-year-old nonverbal student, parents claim
New Hyde Park Memorial High School. (Courtesy of the Sewanhaka Central High School District)

The parents of a 15-year-old nonverbal student filed a notice of claim against the Sewanhaka Central School District and two of its high schools seeking $3 million in damages after special needs teacher William Buith allegedly tied their son to a chair on April 4, according to the notice and a police report.

The teacher allegedly tied a rope around the student’s stomach, causing “multiple bodily injuries” and “emotional distress,” the notice of claim said. The police report said the student did not have any physical injuries.

The notice said the student’s father, Carlos Diaz, has not experienced any “companionship” or “affection” from his son since the incident.

Stephanie Ovadia, the family’s lawyer, called the incident an unbelievable and disturbing case.

Interim Superintendent Thomas Dolan filed a police report April 5, the day after the incident. The child’s parents were not informed of the incident until April 5, according to the notice.

“Once we learned of the incident, we immediately conducted an investigation, the teacher was removed from the classroom, and the proper authorities were promptly contacted, including the Nassau County Police Department and the New York State Department of Education,” Dolan said in a statement. “As this is pending litigation, the district cannot comment further.”

The nonverbal boy, referred to as C.D. in the notice of claim, is an Elmont Memorial High School student. On April 4, he was brought to New Hyde Park Memorial High School for special instruction, the notice said.

A teaching assistant and nurse told the chairperson of the special education department at Elmont that they witnessed Buith tie the student to a chair using a rope, according to the police report. The special education chairperson then notified Dolan, the police report said.

It is unclear why the teacher allegedly tied the student to a chair and how long the student was left there.

Efforts to reach Buith were unavailing.

This is not the only teacher scandal the district is facing.

At a board meeting in early May, dozens of Palestinian and Muslim community members spoke out against what they called an offensive history lesson about Israeli-Palestinian relations taught by Deirdre McIntyre at Sewanhaka High School on May 2.

The teacher reportedly used a document in a history lesson that prompted students to role play as an Israeli and a Palestinian by using a script. Community members said the script included factual inaccuracies and Islamophobic stereotypes.

The teacher was absent from classes for a week and a half before returning to instruction with a co-teacher the morning after the early May board meeting, Dolan said.

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