A Miami kindergarten teacher is facing child abuse charges after police say he dug his nails into a student’s hand and leg because he had an urge to see the child cry.
Frederick Mena, 25, was teaching math to a kindergarten class at Silver Bluff Elementary School in Coconut Grove on March 5 when the victim, a female student, was having trouble with the answers, Miami-Dade School Police said, according to an arrest report. Mena reportedly became frustrated and dug his nails deeply into the girl's hand and leg, leaving wounds on the girls' left calf and hand.
The report says Mena admitted to his role in the incident in a letter provided to the school principal, and stated in that letter that he had an urge to see the victim cry. In the letter, Mena reportedly claimed he could have controlled himself from taking the thought into action, but decided to "go with it."
Mena also allegedly told police that he was motivated to take advantage of the child while she was at her low point, and that he wished to "punish her" and "put her down further."
The Miami-Dade School Board released a statement, saying, "Once these disturbing allegations came to light, the school district took immediate action and removed the teacher from the classroom. Mr. Mena is no longer employed by Miami-Dade County Public Schools and will be prohibited from working for the district in the future. We will provide the child and the child's family with all the necessary resources moving forward."
Parents at the school were sickened by the news, some surprised to learn what the teacher had been accused of doing.
"I asked my son, and he said that he was a pretty good teacher," said parent Dayane Ayana.
Still, Ayana and other parents told NBC 6 South Florida they want to see Mena punished for the alleged crimes.
"They should really take into consideration what he's saying, and punish him for what he did," Ayana said.
Mena has been charged with aggravated child abuse. It is unclear whether he has an attorney.