Teacher from LI accused of child endangerment

(AP) - A teacher at a New York City public school hasbeen charged with turning his fourth-grade classroom into afighting ring.

Joseph Gullotta told two of his students, ages 9 and 10, tosettle an argument with a classroom fight, Queens District AttorneyRichard Brown's office announced Tuesday.

One of the students suffered a cut lip, and the other sustaineda bruised and swollen head during the Jan. 28 incident at P.S. 65in the Ozone Park neighborhood, prosecutors said.

After the boys began fighting, prosecutors said, Gullotta told athird student to close the classroom door. Gullotta, 29, of Long Island, then instructedthe other students to back up to give the boys room to fight,prosecutors said.

When Gullotta sent one of the boys to the school nurse twoperiods later, authorities said, he told him to lie and say he washurt by bumping into another student while trying to pick up apencil from the floor. The nurse later summoned the other boy,prosecutors said.

Authorities said they learned about what happened after one ofthe boys' parents overheard him talking about it.

Gullotta and Abraham Fox, a teacher's aide who prosecutors saywitnessed the incident, are charged with two counts of endangeringthe welfare of a child, a misdemeanor. If convicted, each faces amaximum one year in jail.

The men were arraigned in Queens Criminal Court on Saturday. Ajudge released them on their own recognizance. They're scheduled toreturn to court Feb. 25.

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