Middle School Teacher Arrested Following Altercation with Student

Susan Lawrence, 64, charged with endangering the welfare of a child.

Northport Middle School. Credit: File Photo
Northport Middle School. Credit: File Photo
A Northport Middle School teacher was arrested Tuesday following an altercation with a student, according to Suffolk County Police.

Susan Lawrence, 64, of East Northport was arrested and charged with endangering the welfare of a child after she allegedly grabbed and pulled a female student on the arm and yelled at her.

The incident occurred on Thursday at 8:20 a.m. as the student was getting off of a school bus at Northport Middle School.

A statement from the Northport-East Northport School District states that the district conducted a thorough investigation, consulted with counsel, contacted the Suffolk County Police Department, and the New York State Department of Education concerning the incident.

Lawrence has been reassigned to home pending further investigation.

Superintendent Marylou McDermott and Northport Middle School Principal Timothy Hoss were not available for comment.

karen from East Northport May 02, 2013 at 06:58 AM
Really? Would love to watch the security tape with sound on. Two sides to every story.
Tyson May 02, 2013 at 08:30 AM
Another parent late on their mortgage that needs to get paid in afrivolous lawsuit. The story of scamming on long island continues.
KL May 02, 2013 at 09:30 AM
"she allegedly grabbed and pulled a female student on the arm and yelled at her" really? and she was arrested?
KL May 02, 2013 at 09:31 AM
If they arrested every teacher that grabbed/pulled and yelled at my High School there would not have been any teachers left after about a week
MJS May 02, 2013 at 09:47 AM
If we don't want kids grabbing and shouting at each other, then perhaps the adults shouldn't grab the kids either. Unless the child was in danger (such as falling in front of a bus) or about to hurt another child and the teacher was restraining her, keep hands off.
Concerned Citizen May 02, 2013 at 10:43 AM
My heavens... My old football coach would be in prison for life if this is a crime.
Lisa Brambilla May 02, 2013 at 11:40 AM
Before we judge, let's wait to hear what really happened! Everyone (not just Teachers) need to be held accountable for their behavior. If the student's behavior was out of line, then a grabbed arm may have been appropriate. A Teacher's career should not be affected by a hypersensitive and over- reactive district (protecting themselves at the cost of the employee). Just my opinion!
Katie Kearns Jackson May 02, 2013 at 11:53 AM
From what I understand it was a child with special needs and at no time is it ok to put your hands on anyone's child!!!!
Chris May 02, 2013 at 02:03 PM
Two sides? Video? Football Coach? High School teacher violence? I really cannot believe that there are adults that still believe that it is ok to use physical force by adults against children much less teachers against special needs kids??? I was not there and I am not aware of the story beyond what was written, but you can be certain that SCPD would never assume the liability of arresting this woman unless the law was violated based on what they were told by the child AND witnesses. For an arrest to take place for I have little doubt that it was more involved and witnessed than the way we are reading. You people seeing conspiracies behind every corner other than what happened are morons. Bottom line, you touch my child other than to save his or her life, you better hope that the PD gets there before I do. Perhaps it is time for this tenured grandma to retire and reflect on the old days when teachers could hit kids.
Chris May 02, 2013 at 02:41 PM
Drugs? Water Bottles? What the hell are you talking about? Perhaps its you sneaking the booze in the water bottle. My kids are perfect, thanks. And, I'm a teacher. Unlike you, evidently, I know how to direct my students and gain compliance without the use of force you twit. Please don't let this buffoon be a teacher here. You can't seem to string together a cohesive thought without posting 3 times, so, begone.
Amy Waldhauer May 02, 2013 at 03:41 PM
It was middle school. Middle school kids have been obnoxious since the dawn of time. Maybe she did deserve it, or maybe the teacher was having a bad day. I agree that we can't really judge, but from the sound of things it was appropriate for the school to keep Mrs. Lawrence away from the students while things are sortd out.
Marybeth Tello May 02, 2013 at 04:53 PM
OOH BOO HOO ... really?! We're dealing with MIDDLE SCHOOLERS here ... where bullies hone their abilities. Perhaps she was the bus bully... Perhaps she was picking on another student... hitting, insulting, stealing her stuff and throwing them ... perhaps the parent complained and this was the umpteenth complaint and they just couldn't take it anymore. Perhaps the parent threatened a lawsuit against the school district for not protecting her child? There are TWO sides to this story. I can't WAIT to hear the other side. GONE is the respect in the schools. Children are taught by those very same teachers to turn against their parents if they are disciplined ... And you get parents who can't believe that their child is a bully so they have the teacher arrested when she can no longer handle any more crap from the student. I've seen a lot since I've been in middle school. The entire system has been broken down and the kids seem to rule.
Sebastian Campos May 02, 2013 at 09:51 PM
you guys are goons
Kathy Shkinder Downey May 03, 2013 at 06:56 AM
So much 'speculation' bottom line corporal punishment is no longer acceptable for teachers like when we were kids. Quite frankly it shouldn't have been ok then either. They have non-violent punishment for ill behaved children. A teachers frustration needs 2 b kept in check as hard as that may be. My child is a well behaved student there and if by chance she steps out of line, send her 2 the Principal, give her detention, suspend her ass if u have 2 but don't touch my kid period! Call me, drag me up there and I promise I will handle it appropriately and non-violently at home. Manhandling someone else's child is never ok regardless of the situation in my opinion. Yes it hard dealing with kids but even as parents our tempers must remain in check. Teachers are trained professionals and can diffuse an unruly child without 'grabbing' them. Even 'back in the day' when I was a somewhat unruly child and I was manhandled by a teacher my father (who was a strong believer in spare the rod, spoil the child) went up 2 the school and had a fit and said he shld be called and it wld be handled at home. The teachers behavior sounds unacceptable 2 me as a parent of an ENMS child!
MJS May 03, 2013 at 10:08 AM
Kathy, well said!
LotsToSay May 03, 2013 at 06:30 PM
Yes, 2 sides to every story... And it's really nice, Chris, that you have perfect children! I'd love to have a sip of the water you and your family drink! In reality, Ms. Lawrence , (isn't she a Teacher Assistant?) is the real victim. The amount of responsibility vs. reward (salary, breaks, etc.) given to the Teacher Assistants and Teacher Aides is horrendous. They're not trained as Special Ed teachers, but must use the training they receive to do the best job they can, all day every day, from the bus arrivals in the morning, until the bus departures in the afternoon. In some cases this includes taking the child to the bathroom, for which they receive an extra stipend at the end of the year. In most cases, it includes socializing, disciplining, organizing, helping with writing,keeping on task, teaching. In some cases, it involves carrying backpacks, helping with coats and clothing, and assisting the child in getting from point "a" to point "b". It's not easy. In most cases the Teaching Assistants and Aides go above and beyond the call of duty. The accountability on the part of the school district is horrendous. Most of the time when a faculty member or other employee sees a special needs child with an aide or TA, they leave the bulk of the responsibility, including teaching, sometimes even talking, to that person. As far as sending kids to the principal, that's a joke! Do you think the principal is sitting around waiting for kids? They are overburdened as well. The day NMS got rid of Tom Fazio's position (after he chose early retirement) as a counselor in the "time out room" was the biggest mistake this district has made as far as cuts. Too many kids with problems, no place to go. What a shame!! NMS used to have such a wonderful reputation, and our kids are falling through the cracks, while the teachers get blamed. So open your eyes, people! Wake up! These are your tax dollars at work. Pay attention, vote, be active, have a say in what goes on in our town. Put the blame where it should be!! (Also, did the child have any breakfast?)
Amy Waldhauer May 04, 2013 at 06:45 AM
LotsToSay: I am glad your clarified that Mrs. Lawrence is an aide. When my son was in 7th grade at NMS he was attacked by the same 4 boys every day for a month as he walked from the building to the bus. No one stopped the attacks because there were no aides to do so. I am sure that Mrs. Lawrence was overworked and underpaid.
Pat Morano May 05, 2013 at 10:37 AM
I have to agree with most of the comments made here. Of course, there is always 2 sides to a story. The problem is that the only story or conclusion that always wins is the side of the school administration. I have lived in this town for 40 years, worked in the school district for almost 20 years as a Teacher Aide. My children went through the Northport School system. I have witnessed a change in this district in the past few years and not a good change. I know that this was not entirely Mrs. Lawrence's fault. This child is a child with many challenges. The Teacher aides and Teacher Assistants do their best with the limited amount of training that they have. They are left with the children that they are assigned to and expected to teach, discipline, toilet( if needed) and keep them safe and sometimes watch out for the safety of the other children. It is a fact that a child should not be abused for any reason, but I am sure that her case will not prevail in her favor. How did the parents react act to this arrest? Usually the parents of these children have a relationship with the aide or the assistant. At one time the administrators would value the opinion of their teachers and the staff but I have witnessed so many injustices over the past few years, it is very sad. I hope that this case is resolved, get the parents involved. If Mrs. Lawrence is not vindicated, who would want to do her job? She will always be looking over her shoulder.


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