Teacher from LI accused of making students send cards to felon

A Queens teacher from Long Island is under fire for allegations that she forced her fifth-grade students to make holiday cards for a pen pal

ISLAND PARK - A Queens teacher from Long Island is under fire for allegations that she forced her fifth-grade students to make holiday cards for a pen pal who's in the pen. Melissa Dean, of Island Park, is under investigation for allegedly assigning P.S. 143 students to make holiday cards for her convicted felon boyfriend, who was once charged with possessing child pornography. Investigators say that back in December, 31-year-old Dean told her students the cards would be sent to people without family or friends. Instead, investigators say the crayon-colored cards were sent to John Coccarelli, who is serving time upstate after being busted in Nassau County on weapons and child pornography charges. According to an official report, Dean sent a total of 27 cards and encouraged her students to include their names and addresses so they could receive cards in return.Authorities say the cards were intercepted by a corrections officer who deemed the mail inappropriate due to Coccarelli's criminal history. The Nassau District Attorney's Office says Coccarelli took a deal to only plead guilty to the weapons charge, which ensured a longer prison sentence than the child pornography charge.

advertisement | advertise on News 12

Top 5 Must See

The Roosevelt community came together Saturday to honor 1 Roosevelt community honors fallen war hero
A pedestrian was struck by a car and 2 Pedestrian struck by car, killed in Ronkonkoma
Police say Antonio Smith shot another man several 3 Freeport man facing charges in January shooting
Anyone with information is urged to call Nassau 4 Police: Men break into home, rob woman in Roslyn Heights
A teenager was killed after being hit by 5 Teen fatally struck by car in Miller Place

advertisement | advertise on News 12

Features

Each week, News 12's Doug Geed explores the Check out fun things to do on the East End!

Explore the Twin Forks with News 12's Doug Geed.

Each week a different shelter visits News 12 Dog Day Fridays Series

Each week a different shelter visits News 12 Long Island with pets up for adoption.

News 12 digs deep to find Long Island's Discover Long Island's Hidden Past

News 12's Danielle Campbell digs into Long Island's roots.

News 12's Lily Stolzberg sees how much Long On The Spot

News 12's Lily Stolzberg sees how much Long Islanders know about everything and anything.

Sorry to interrupt...

Your first 5 are free

Access to News12 is free for Optimum, Comcast®, Time Warner® and Service Electric℠ video customers.

Please enjoy 5 complimentary views to articles, photos, and videos during the next 30 days.

LOGIN SUBSCRIBE