Miami-Dade fires interim teacher after accusations that she hurt boy

After alleged teacher's attack, boy fears Mandarin Lakes K-8 Academy

HOMESTEAD, Fla. – A kindergarten teacher at Mandarin Lakes K-8 Academy in Homestead was fired after she was accused of hitting a five-year-old boy several times.

Lori Burstein was working as an interim teacher when police officers escorted her out of the school grounds Nov. 29.

Several students and an adult reported witnessing Burstein hurting the student. Burstein said she didn't do anything wrong, because it was an accident.

"I was putting a book away and I guess I touched him by accident," Burstein said.



Miami-Dade school district spokeswoman Daisy Gonzalez-Diego said Burstein was terminated the day the allegation surfaced, and she will be prevented from seeking future employment with Miami-Dade County Public Schools. 

The boy's mother, Gaeshela Branch, said Burstein sent her a text message blaming her son for her firing. The text message: "I am not teaching anymore. He got me in trouble. Very disrespectful."



Branch said her son was afraid to go back to Mandarin Lakes K-8 Academy, she moved him to another school.

"He was crying," Branch said. "He is very afraid."

Miami-Dade Schools Police Department detectives are investigating the incident.

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