NY teacher scolded for making kids write to inmate

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NEW YORK (AP) – A teacher has received a warning letter from the New York City Conflicts of Interest Board for making her fifth graders write Christmas cards to a friend serving time in prison.

The cards contained the children’s names and in some cases addresses. They were intercepted by a corrections officer.

According to The New York Times, Melissa Dean escaped harsher punishment because she resigned in June. Dean taught at P.S. 143 in Queens. Last December she told her class to write the cards to people who were lonely.

Instead, she sent the cards to a friend, John Coccarelli, serving time for illegal weapons possession. Prosecutors say he was also charged with possessing child pornography but it was not brought to trial because he pleaded guilty to a charge calling for a longer sentence.

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