A 41-year-old New York teacher was embroiled in a bizarre scandal after her alleged “romantic relationship” with a fifth grader was discovered by investigators.
Yi Chen Cheng, a music teacher at PS 1 Courtlandt, a pre-K to 5th-grade public school in Mott Haven, Bronx, reportedly called the 11-year-old child her “boyfriend.”
Findings from the city’s Special Commissioner of Investigation revealed that Yi exchanged 563 texts messages with the unnamed child who used a phone she purchased for him.
It was found that Cheng, a public teacher for 16 years, has been sending her fifth-grader “boyfriend” with “I love you” messages adorned with heart emojis. In some of her messages, she even expressed jealousy of other girls.
Her estranged husband, who knows Cheng’s Facebook password, discovered the exchange of messages between Cheng and the pre-teen boy, according to the New York Post.
“Don’t use me as a bargaining chip for your gf [girlfriend],” Cheng messaged the boy in June 2017. “This is the second time that you are telling everyone what I told you. Do you think it’s a joke. Or you think I am a joke? You hurt me again. And this is what you should tell everyone from now, including your gf: I don’t love you, I don’t. Goodnight.”
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“Woow first I ain’t tell anybody about u. …” the student replied.
“I feel you are using me to get her jealous. And that hurts because you care about her feelings more than my feeling. And don’t you know how much I love you through everything?” Cheng wrote in response.
They also chatted about stuff children would enjoy such as basketball, going to the mall, and dating among others. Investigators also found that they engaged in video chats at odd hours.
“As long as without sex, I think its[sic] legal,” Cheng allegedly told a friend on Facebook.
The boy would later confirm to investigators that his teacher never engaged in sexual behavior with him.
While the NYPD and Bronx District Attorney’s Office did not file criminal charges against Cheng, she was terminated from her post by disciplinary hearing officer Timothy Taylor.
According to Taylor, Cheng’s conduct was “particularly shocking.”
Cheng also sent a photo of the student she called her boyfriend to her Facebook friend whom she confided that she “fell for someone that [she] shouldn’t fall for.”
“[M]aybe because we are meant to be … we know what each other wants without even saying a word … we don’t even fight. … I feel connected to him,” the single mother of a 5-year-old son told her friend.
Cheng reportedly works now for the Piano School of NYC in Manhattan where she provides piano lessons for children below 10 years old. A representative of the piano school told the Post that she teaches at students’ homes with the presence of a parent.
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