A teacher’s aide at the Boston Community Leadership Academy in Hyde Park was arrested Friday afternoon for allegedly kicking and inappropriately touching a special needs student, police and school officials said.
Thomas Burke, 57, is facing charges of assault and battery by means of a dangerous weapon (a shod foot) and indecent assault and battery on a special needs person, Boston police said.
A Boston Public Schools spokesman said Friday’s attack appeared to have been an isolated incident. The victim’s age and gender were not released Friday evening, and details of the alleged assault were not given.
Brett Dickens , the academy headmaster, sent out an automated call to parents at the school, which serves students from grades nine through 12, informing them of the incident.
“This is not the kind of news I wanted to be sharing on the first night of winter break, but I wanted to make sure you are kept informed of issues you need to know about,” Dickens said in the message.
Burke, a 15-year veteran of the Boston school system and a Roslindale resident, has been removed and will not be returning to the school, Dickens said.
In a statement, BPS Interim Superintendent John McDonough said students’ safety was the system’s top priority.
“Our job is the protect and support them in every way possible,” he said.
McDonough also emphasized that school officials would work closely with police as they investigate the incident.
BPS has contacted the victim’s family and other students with whom Burke has had contact, McDonough said.
The Boston Community Leadership Academy is a pilot school intended to prepare students for both college and community leadership, according to its website. It was awarded a bronze medal for top national high schools from U.S. News & World Report in 2009.
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