Queens, NY – New York Police Department (NYPD) officers have arrested a substitute teacher who threatened to shoot up a classroom of middle schoolers on Wednesday.
The incident occurred just after 2 p.m. on July 21 when 52-year-old Alejandra Rocha was substitute teaching an art class at Intermediate School 5 – The Walter Crowley School in Elmhurst, the Daily Mail reported.
Police said that when a classroom of 11 year olds and 12 year olds wouldn’t settle down, Rocha threatened them.
“If you won’t do as you’re told, I’m gonna shoot you — and yes, I have a gun,” the substitute teacher told the students.
None of the students complained or reported what Rocha had said to a school official, the Daily Mail reported.
Sources told the New York Post the substitute teacher actually told a supervisor what he had said to the class and claimed it was a bad joke.
Rocha told top school officials that he made the joke when the students became unruly and he was sorry about it, the Daily Mail reported.
But school administrators took the substitute teacher’s bad behavior very seriously.
He was arrested just four hours later and charged with making a terroristic threat, the New York Post reported.
Rocha, a resident of Sunnyside, was suspended without pay by the school system.
“This deeply disturbing allegation is absolutely unacceptable and this substitute teacher was immediately suspended,” a spokesman for the New York City Department of Education told the Daily Mail.
“If this deeply disturbing allegation is found to be true, he will be fired,” the spokesperson added.
Rocha has worked as a substitute teacher in the school system for 20 years and had no disciplinary history, the New York Post reported.
He was awaiting arraignment in Queens Criminal Court on Thursday, the Daily Mail reported.