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What is the Department of Education (DOE) doing?

Administrators at the city’s public school system are seemingly asleep at the wheel, allowing teachers to run amok — WITH OUR CHILDREN.

In the past week alone, two teachers — who are supposed to be role models for our youth — were busted, one for inappropriately touching two boys, the other for a ruse that involved having her class send cards to a prison inmate.

What is going on? We are absolutely outraged at the lack of oversight by the DOE and United Federation of Teachers (UFT)!

In the first case, computer teacher Wilbert Cortez, 49, had already been accused and investigated for slapping students’ buttocks during the 1999-2000 school year. All he received at the time, however, was a disciplinary letter in his file.

Why was he not fired? Why was he allowed in a classroom again? Why did the DOE and UFT permit more incidents to occur, knowing that Cortez had already been accused?

Since the investigation into the second case, in which Cortez was accused of — and later arrested for — touching the genitals of two boys, more victims — at least seven — have come forward.

And what’s worse is that Cortez is not alone — he is reportedly the third city school employee this year to be arrested for the sexual abuse of students.

The classroom should be a place of studies and safety for students, NOT SEX!

And what about Corona teacher Melissa Dean, whose class wrote cards — to her jailed boyfriend, convicted of gun possession and whose laptop contained sexually explicit images of children?

Dean did not have permission from school administrators — or parents — for the project. Where was the oversight?

But instead of being fired straightaway, she was put on desk duty and allowed to keep her $75,000-a-year job, at least for the time being.

This is ridiculous! Nowhere else, in no other field or place of business, is such conduct tolerated!

Teachers are the key to our children’s present and future, and should be respected as such. We know there are very good, committed, caring teachers out there, and it is truly a shame that these “bad apples” can cast a pall on the rest of the bunch.

So wake up DOE and UFT — get rid of the bad apples, for the sake of the children.



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