Newburgh teacher accused by district of having kids sit on his lap fired

Richard Desiderio was terminated by the school board last Thursday, according to a district document obtained by News 12, after a disciplinary hearing officer found that he ignored directives about the alleged behavior.

Blaise Gomez

Jul 3, 2024, 5:10 PM

Updated 21 days ago

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A Newburgh school teacher and district whistleblower has been fired after he was accused of having children sit on his lap.
Richard Desiderio was terminated by the school board last Thursday, according to a district document obtained by News 12, after a disciplinary hearing officer found that he ignored directives about the alleged behavior.
The teacher says his interaction with district children is being twisted by administration, and that his firing is retaliation for reporting an attendance and grading scandal to the Orange County District Attorney several years ago.
“I didn’t do anything wrong. This has been brewing since 2018. Of course, I expected a different result,” says Desiderio. “They hijacked the system and got me into a hearing where they knew no questions would be asked.”
Desiderio says after the release of a scathing 2019 grand jury report based on the information he provided to officials, he was written up more than 50 times, transferred from the high school to work with elementary students and stripped of his coaching title.
Representatives from the Newburgh school district declined to comment.
Desiderio says due to his termination, it’s unlikely he’ll be able to continue working as a teacher for another district, and says he has “no idea” what’s next.
“I held on through everything for the kids.”


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