Teachers accused of abusing special-needs students faces hearing

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A Long Beach Middle School teacher accused of abusing special-needs students faced the final day of a disciplinary hearing Monday.

Lisa Weitzman has been on leave for several years after allegations surfaced that she abused five children in her care.

Attorneys from the school district are trying to get Weitzman fired from her $96,000 job. She is accused of restraining non-verbal special-needs students with zip-ties, locking one in a bathroom to allegedly calm him down, physically abusing children in her care, and possibly sexually abusing some as well.

Weitzman's attorney said in the hearing that she was a caring teacher and that there was no hard evidence or medical records to prove that she abused her students. But the school district's attorney argued otherwise. 

Some of the children's parents attended Monday's hearing, and while none wanted to speak with News 12 on camera, an attorney representing some of them says he doesn't believe that Weitzman was trying to be a good teacher.

"If even one of these charges are held to be founded, it's disgraceful," says attorney Gerard Misk.

Misk is filing a lawsuit against the district on behalf of several of the students who were allegedly abused by Weitzman. He believes school officials tried to cover up the abuse for years. Attorneys for the school district say that's not true.

The disciplinary hearing officer is expected to make a decision on the allegations against Weitzman in the next 30 to 90 days.

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