Two days before Christmas, seven-year-old Ka’veon Wilson came to class at P.S. 194 in Harlem with a tray of cupcakes for his classmates. His teacher, Osman Couey, shoved him out the door and locked it. Ka’veon, a special education student, started banging on the door to get back in. School psychologist Steven Castiglia heard the commotion and knocked on the classroom door. Couey unlocked it and Ka’veon tried to squeeze in. According to the NY Post,
Castiglia testified that Couey “threw” the boy into his legs. “It was just like he was bowling,” the psychologist said. “He (Ka’veon) flew into my ankles and it stung.”
A video surveillance camera captured Ka’veon being tossed across the hallway.
Since 2004, Couey has been investigated by the Department of Education for four prior incidents, including choking a student, using inappropriate language, and corporal punishment. In 2013 he was charged with throwing a child down a flight of stairs.
What happens next?
Couey is in jail for thirty days after convictions of endangering the welfare of a child and harassment. “It could have been worse,” he said, because the maximum sentence is 90 days. Indeed, it could be worse. He’s still collecting his annual salary of $105,142. The City Board of Education has been trying to fire him but can’t because of New York’s tenure rules. Chancellor Carmen Fariña said Couey’s “job is protected under contractual due process.”
What do you think? Your taxes are paying Couey’s salary, as well as for the resolution of a lawsuit that Ka’veon’s mother, Chantel Phinazee, is planning on filing against the City. Does NY need tenure reform? Would you want your child in Couey’s classroom?