An assistant principal in the Bronx was arraigned Tuesday on charges od sex abuse and acting in a manner injurious to a child.
The Department of Education says Joseph Ponzo, 59, turned himself in to the authorities amid allegations he forcibly touched last week two girls, ages 10 and 11.
Sources say the alleged incidents took place in P.S. 106 in Parkchester.
A DOE spokeswoman says Ponzo made more than $117,000 a year and started working at P.S. 106 in 2008.
Prior to that, he was an assistant principal at another school and worked as an elementary school teacher.
Ponzo is the ninth DOE employee arrested and charged with sex crimes involving students since February. He is the first charged administrator, as the previous cases involved teachers, aides and paraprofessionals.
"I think it's horrible. I mean, it's not his job. It's not his place to put his hands on any kid under any circumstance," said a parent of a P.S. 106 student.
"I just don't believe what's going on. I don't believe it. I've heard of other schools, but my son attends this school. I don't know what to believe," said another parent.
"I have a daughter in this school, and to hear this kind of news really upsets me. For the safety of these kids, wow. I'd go crazy if something happened to my kid over here," said a third.
The DOE says Ponzo has been reassigned pending the outcome of the police investigation.
Schools Chancellor Dennis Walcott has been very outspoken about the string of sexual abuse incidents, visiting many of the schools after the arrests and pledging to pull anyone accused of inappropriate behavior out of the classroom immediately.
The chancellor said he personally reviewed previous allegations against 250 employees, leading him to remove eight additional educators based on old charges.