Liverpool elementary school teacher arrested for kicking a disabled 5-year-old

TOWN OF SALINA, N.Y. (WSYR-TV) — A teacher at Elmcrest Elementary school was arrested on Tuesday, March 12 for being accused of kicking a special needs student.

47-year-old Melissa Harrington was arrested and charged with Endangering the Welfare of an Incompetent or Physically Disabled Person in the First Degree, a felony.

Harrington was being investigated back in February over accusations related to incidents involving a special needs student.

Last month, at the time of the investigation, the Onondaga County District Attorney confirmed to NewsChannel 9 that she had been suspended. Sources added the building principal was no longer in the job because of possible failures to properly report the incidents.

As of today, the incident — which took place in December of 2023 — revealed that Harrington kicked a 5-year-old, according to the Onondaga County Sheriff’s Office.

Liverpool’s superintendent, Daniel Henner released a statement to the community on behalf of the incident.

Dear Liverpool CSD Community,

I am reaching out to you today with a heavy heart to address a development that was made public concerning the investigations into allegations of misconduct at Elmcrest Elementary School. We have been notified that an arrest has been made due to allegations of misconduct that are deeply concerning to us all.

As the Superintendent, let me be clear and unequivocal to our parents and to our school community: the safety and well-being of our students and staff are the District’s absolute number one priority.  The news of this arrest is profoundly disappointing and the purported conduct that formed the basis of this arrest, if true, is completely antithetical to the values and ethics we uphold in our school community. We understand the gravity of this situation and share in the sentiment of unease and distress that these events have inevitably wrought in our school community.

With the above in mind, please understand that the District has been and will continue to be fully cooperative with law enforcement officials as they continue in the course of their investigation.  The one piece of information that we can confirm in this matter is that the initial referral to law enforcement of the allegations in this case was made by the District’s central office administration as soon as the allegations were discovered and brought to the District’s attention in accordance with our legal duties and obligations under New York State Law.   However, as a district, we are also required by law to conduct our own review as an employment matter. Rest assured, the District will take appropriate actions in alignment with our policies and procedures as allowed under the law.

As we review and process this most recent information, we also must be mindful of the legal and professional protocols in place that bind the District’s actions and its ability to publicly comment on such matters. Regardless of the law enforcement actions in this case, this matter is also a personnel and employment issue for the District.  As such, the District is legally prevented from publicly commenting on any of the specifics of this matter at this time in light of the privacy and due process rights of every individual involved, student and employee,  as well as with regards to the integrity of the ongoing legal investigations. We must allow for due process to take its course without any regards to speculation, rumor, innuendo, or premature judgment.

Further, as a District, we have already taken steps to ensure that our students’ education and school activities continue in a safe and supportive environment. Additionally, we have ensured that support services are available to any student or staff member who may need assistance during this challenging time. Please reach out to your child’s counselor or principal should specific needs arise. 

In closing, I want to reassure you that we remain steadfastly committed to continuing to maintain a safe learning environment for our students to grow and flourish. I ask for your cooperation, patience, and understanding as we continue to navigate this extremely complex situation.  We deeply appreciate the trust you place in all of us to educate and safeguard your children. We will keep you informed of any major developments to the extent we can while respecting the confidentiality required in such matters. 

Thank you for your continued support as we work together to uphold the standards that define the Liverpool CSD.

Superintendent Mr. Daniel G. Henner

She was issued an appearance ticket and is scheduled to appear in the Town of Clay Court on March 26.

The sheriff’s office says all further questions can be directed to the Onondaga County  District Attorney’s Office.

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