Associated Press, May 6, 1998

Chair-swinging teacher barred once, rehired, hurts kids again

NEW YORK (AP) A substitute teacher accused of swinging two chairs at her fifth graders and injuring two of them had been barred years ago from teaching in city schools after she was accused of using corporal punishment.

School officials said Wednesday they were investigating how Hermina Brunson managed to get rehired.

Ms. Brunson, 64, allegedly swung the chairs in class Tuesday, hitting two 11-year-olds who suffered minor injuries. She told police she was trying to stop the class from making noise.

The teacher pleaded innocent Wednesday to two counts each of second-degree assault, endangering the welfare of a child and criminal possession of a weapon. She was released on her own recognizance and is due back in court May 18.

Her attorney, Laurie Peterson, did not return a telephone call. Olivia Boyd, one of the injured students, said in a criminal complaint that Ms. Brunson picked up a metal and wood chair and struck her on the left side of the face.

"I ducked twice and she hit me on the cheek with the chair the third time," she said in Wednesday's New York Post.

Romeo Izquierdo, the other injured student, said in the complaint that the teacher struck him in the right knee with a chair.

Parents were outraged when they learned that Ms. Brunson's teaching and substitute teaching license were revoked in 1983 after she was accused of using corporal punishment. Officials wouldn't provide details.

"More children could have been hurt," said John Gonzalez, whose daughter attends the school but was not in the class.

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