Woman accuses teacher of slapping boy at Lincoln Marti School in Miami Beach
Police say employee suspended pending investigation
MIAMI BEACH, Fla. – A woman whose child attends a Lincoln Marti day care in Miami Beach claims that she saw a teacher slapping a young boy across the face multiple times while she was picking up her daughter.
According to a Miami Beach police incident report, Laura Pantano, 35, was picking up her daughter Thursday from the Lincoln Marti School at 1700 Jefferson Ave. when she saw a teacher grabbing a boy by his shoulder and rattling the student back and forth.
Police said Pantano also saw the teacher, identified as Clara Luz Quintero-Gonzalez, 54, slap the child across both sides of his face.
Pantano immediately ran up to the classroom and confronted the teacher, authorities said. They said an argument ensued and Pantano called police.
Police said the school director, Yanet Perez, was at the day care but told police that she did not see the incident because she was attending to another child.
Police said employees at the day care told them that the surveillance cameras do not have the capacity to record and only work as a live feed.
The child was removed from the classroom by officers, who notified the boy's mother.
Police said the boy did not have any visible injuries.
Police said Quintero-Gonzalez did not make any statements at the scene and was suspended and sent home pending further investigation.
Pantano wrote on her Facebook page that her daughter was taught by the same teacher when she was 3. She said her daughter had told her that Quintero-Gonzalez had hit students before, but when Pantano confronted the school director, she claimed it was just the girl's imagination and no action was taken.
"Each time I discuss this with different individuals at the school they told me that my daughter was seeing things or that I was exaggerating," Pantano told Local 10 News.
Pantano said her daughter started school Monday after summer break, and came home crying, complaining about the same teacher that she said has hit multiple students.
"She was afraid of the teacher that continues to hit the children and the story was consistent, and now she's 4, Pantano said.
Pantano said her daughter's concerns prompted her to keep a closer eye on the school, and she didn't hesitate to confront the teacher once she saw the incident on the surveillance cameras.
"She went close to him, picked him up on the shoulders, shook him, slapped him in the face twice, on his hands and again on his face twice," Pantano said.
The Department of Children and Families was notified and an investigator was expected to be sent to the school Friday to complete a full investigation.
It's unclear whether Quintero-Gonzalez will face charges.
"This is up to justice," Pantano said. "What is her destiny? For me, she should be out of the school system and not be dealing with children."
Administrators at the Lincoln Marti School told Local 10 News reporter Liane Morejon off camera that they are cooperating with police and have nothing more to say about the allegations.
Quintano-Gonzalez has not returned Local 10 News' request for comment.
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