NJ Teacher Hit Special Needs Kids With Ruler: Officials

Nasir Purkett, 6, was allegedly hit with a ruler by his teacher, his father says

A New Jersey teacher who works with special needs students has been suspended from her job, accused of hitting several students with a ruler in the classroom, officials say.

The teacher at Berkeley Terrace School in Irvington works mostly with first-graders, according to Irvington school superintendent Dr. Neely Hackett. A parent complained to the principal that their daughter was hit by the teacher with a ruler, and the principal in turn reported it to a state agency and removed the teacher from class.

One father told NBC 4 New York that he was called to a school meeting last week with other parents in the class, where they were told about the teacher's suspension.

After Mandel Purkett learned the news, he said his son, 6-year-old Nasir Purkett, told him he'd been hit with the ruler, and his behavior -- like avoiding school -- began to make sense.

"It makes me feel angry, very angry," said Purkett. "I think she should be behind bars, not suspended with pay."

The superintendent said authorities are taking the allegations seriously and investigating. Irvington police did not comment, although several parents said they have filed police reports.

Two teachers aides who worked with the teacher have been fired. They were contracted for hire from Essex County, according to officials.

It's not clear how many times the kids were allegedly hit, or how many children were hit.