“She should be put in jail,” Lofera Gina, the guardian of a student at the Collaborative Academy of Science Technology and Language Arts, or CASTLE Middle School, told PIX11 News about 8th grade teacher Jacqueline Baffoni.
The city’s Special Commissioner for Investigations said it probed a complaint against Baffoni, in which she had said to unruly students that she felt “like stabbing some of these kids — I have a knife here.” She had apparently kept a knife in her desk that she’d had on hand to cut fruit, but she shared out loud that she was willing to use the tool as a weapon against the students left in her care.
“[It makes me] feel horrible, Lauren Reilly, an eighth grader, said about the allegations. She, her father and other students and parents said that the whole school was talking about the situation.
A vice principal from CASTLE Middle School declined comment. So did Ms. Baffoni herself. PIX11 paid a visit to the apartment on the Lower East Side where she had lived, but surprised neighbors said that the four year veteran teacher had moved away.
However, preteens who had looked up to Baffoni, 32, were emotional about the situation. “To hear something like that, it was kind of shocking,” said eighth grader Samantha Vega. But she and other students said that the reason for the shock was the contrast between the allegations and actions of the teacher they knew and had liked.
“If the kids had any problem,” said Vega, “[Ms. Baffoni] would take them out for lunch and deal with it, and she would try to help them out.”
In fact, Baffoni was known to have extra raised funds online for students’ books. She was a probationary teacher in the New York City Public Schools System. She resigned from the system at the end of last school year, prior to the completion of the probe against her, which concluded in October 2012.
The Special Commissioner for Investigation declined to comment about and disciplinary action Baffoni may have faced.