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Staten Island teacher’s aide hit autistic student because ‘he pinches a lot’: Court docs

CONCORD, Staten Island — A 61-year-old Staten Island teacher’s aide allegedly hit an autistic student twice Wednesday, court documents show.

David Pologruto, 61, a teacher’s aide at P.S./I.S. 48 was charged with endangering the welfare of a child, harassment and attempted assault, prosecutors said. Surveillance video shows him slap the male, non-verbal autistic child’s hand and back.

“He pinches a lot,” Pologruto said in explanation, according to court documents. “I love the kid. I take care of him. I hit his hand.”

Pologruto started working as a substitute paraprofessional in 2015 and became a paraprofessional at 31R373 in 2016. He has no prior disciplinary history.

The teaching aide was immediately suspended without pay, an Education Department spokesperson said.

“There is no place for this alleged behavior in our schools,” the spokesperson said. “The troubling incident is being investigated and we will ensure that appropriate follow up action is taken.”

Pologruto was arraigned Thursday and released on his own recognizance.