Teacher Awarded $5.21 Million in School Assault
May. 14, 1993
NEW YORK (AP) _ A jury ordered the Board of Education to pay $5.21 million to a teacher who was beaten bloody in a school hallway by a student's big brother.
Larry Krakower, a 46-year-old who was permanently disabled in the 1988 attack, had claimed that the Board of Education had a duty to ensure his safety. On Thursday, a state Supreme Court jury in the Bronx agreed.
Krakower was assaulted at a school in the South Bronx by Alfie Sims, the brother of one his students. The 13-year-old girl, Anetha Sims, had come to school late and Krakower, following school policy, took away her coat to ''ground'' her during lunch. Instead, she left the school and walked home.
Infuriated that his sister had no coat on a cool day, Sims, 22 at the time, went to the school and signed in at the front desk. A school safety officer then escorted him - contrary to regulations - to the elevator instead of to the principal's office.
Sims found Krakower outside his classroom and began punching and kicking him in front of a group of students.
''I just remember him screaming at me,'' Krakower said in an interview. ''The next thing I remember is, I was on the floor and I was choking on my own blood. I felt my teeth floating in my mouth.''
Sims then slammed him against a wall, knocking him unconscious. His jaw was broken on both sides, his sinus passages were cracked and he suffered a concussion.
Sims was convicted of assault in 1990 and sentenced to a year in jail.
In his lawsuit, the former reading teacher said the board had a special duty to protect teachers under their union contract. Krakower also cited regulations requiring safety officers to escort visitors to the principal's office.
The city's corporation counsel, who represents the board, could not be reached for comment late Thursday on whether the board would appeal.
Krakower, who still has severe headaches and cannot speak well, took disability retirement after 18 years as a teacher.
In two years of job-hunting - ''telling people I couldn't do anything that involved talking, because my jaw is restricted'' - he found a job with a discount department store, checking the accuracy of prices marked on items.