July 22, 2021 By Christian Murray
A Queens substitute teacher was arrested Wednesday for allegedly threatening to shoot a class of middle school students if they did not listen to him.
Alejandro Rocha, a Sunnyside resident who was teaching at IS-5—The Walter Crowley Intermediate School in Elmhurst, allegedly made the disturbing remark at around 2 p.m.
“If you don’t do what you’re told, I’m going to shoot you. And yes, I have a gun,” Rocha allegedly said.
He was arrested hours later and charged with “making a terroristic threat,” police said.
He admitted to school officials that he made the comment but argued that it was a bad joke.
Rocha has been suspended, according to a Department of Education spokeswoman.
“This is absolutely unacceptable,” a DOE spokesperson said in a statement. “The substitute teacher was immediately suspended and if this deeply disturbing allegation is found to be true, he will be fired.”
Rocha began as a substitute teacher in September 2001 and has no prior disciplinary history, the department said. He has been suspended without pay and not currently eligible to work in city schools.
I was the first principal at that school. What a great place.