Teacher Reprimanded For Making Kids Write To Inmate

NEW YORK (October 2, 2012)—Teacher Melissa Dean has received a warning letter from the New York City Conflicts of Interest Board for making her fifth graders write Christmas cards to a friend serving time in prison.

A corrections officer intercepted the cards, which contained the children's names and in some cases their addresses.

The New York Times reported that Dean escaped harsher punishment because she resigned in June.

Dean taught at P.S. 143 in Queens.

Last December she told her class to write the cards to people who were lonely.

Instead, she sent the cards to a friend, John Coccarelli, who’s serving time for illegal weapons possession.

Prosecutors said he was also charged with possession of child pornography but the case it was not brought to trial because he pleaded guilty to a charge calling for a longer sentence.

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