Waterbury Schools to Reassign Teacher Accused of Bullying - NBC Connecticut

Waterbury Schools to Reassign Teacher Accused of Bullying



    A Duggan School teacher is on administrative leave after a student recorded her, without her knowledge, saying inappropriate things about students. (Published Thursday, March 27, 2014)

    A Waterbury teacher who was placed on administrative leave for allegedly bullying students in her classroom has been suspended for three days without pay, effective today, according to school officials, and she will reassigned to the adult education department after Spring Break.

    Mary Lou Addona was placed on leave after she was secretly recorded as saying she wanted to go "one-on-one" with a "crybaby" student so she could "punch him right in the face."

    The recording of Addona was taped after eighth grader Jesus Velez got into a disagreement with the reading teacher during lunch.

    "She just screamed at me, so she just found a way to pick on me," the 13-year-old student said in an interview with NBC Connecticut last month.

    Classmate Aaron Stewart, who shared Jesus' discomfort with the teacher, suspected her frustration might continue, so he decided to record the beginning of the next class on his iPod.

    NBC Connecticut listened to the entire recording, which was done without Addona's  knowledge. In a portion of the recording, you can hear the teacher lash out at Jesus, who wasn't in the room.

    "Me and him one-on-one, I'd punch him right in the face and break that glass in his eye," she said.

    About 10 seconds later, you can hear her go on about Jesus.

    "I wanted him suspended, but what does he do, he just cries," she said. "I can't stand a crybaby."

    Waterbury school administrators launched an investigation into what they are calling the "belittling" of a student and said on Monday that Addona has been reassigned to the adult education department, effective at the end spring break, April 21, to work on the expansion of the tech center programming.

    In an interview with NBC Connecticut last month, Jesus' mom, Ellise Vasquez, said she felt "disgusted, upset, mad, angry everything else" after she heard the recording for the first time.

    "How can she? How can she talk to my son that way," the mother of three said.

    Later in the four-minute recording, you can hear Addona confront another boy, who was apparently a new student in her class.

    "What is your name anyway? Blake. Blake, what kind of name is Blake? Irish, Italian, French, what are you? White?" she said.

    NBC Connecticut went to Addona's home to get her reaction to the recording in March, but no one answered the door.

    Both Aaron and Jesus say their teacher is generally "cool," but will sometimes lose it out of the blue. Aaron said she's been "saying rude comments for about two months now."

    "It seems like this is a pattern for her. It's not the first time that she did it, it's just the first time that she got caught," Vasquez added.

    When Vasquez met with NBC Connecticut in March, she said she had not sent Jesus back to school because he's nervous about how the students and other teachers are going to react.