'I feel connected to him': 41-yr-old teacher calls 11-yr-old pupil her 'boyfriend', sends him disturbing messages
Yi Chen Cheng, who has a five-year-old son, reportedly exchanged over 500 text messages and engaged in video chats at odd hours with the fifth-grader
A 41-year-old public school teacher in the Bronx lavished affection on a fifth grader in a horrifying case of misconduct. According to police records, the teacher even referred to the 11-year-old as her "boyfriend". Investigative officers found Facebook messages exchanged between teacher Yi Chen Cheng and a friend, one of which read: “As long as without sex, I think its (sic) legal."
Cheng taught music at PS 1 Courtlandt, a pre-kindergarten, and had served as a Department of Education teacher for 16 years. She sent the student in question messages adorned with heart emoticons, and told him "I love you" several times. She reportedly was even jealous of his girlfriends, according to investigative reports and disciplinary records.
Cheng reportedly exchanged over 500 text messages and engaged in video chats at odd hours with the fifth-grader. She bought him a phone to facilitate the same and spoke to him about basketball, dating, and going to the mall, the New York Post reports.
According to reports from the city’s Special Commissioner of Investigation, Cheng is one of two teachers who were recently fired after such conversations came to the fore. The SCI revealed another case in which 46-year-old Dennis Colon, a teacher at Mott Haven Village Preparatory HS in the Bronx, texted a pupil in June 2017, saying, “I f–king WISH you were my girlllllllllll."
Colon was driving as he texted a few other sheepish remarks, like, “Ugh should I have shut the f--k up???” After a few seconds, he texted: “Just got into an accident,” and sent the student a photo of his totaled vehicle. “Waiting for a f–king Uber right now.” The DOE fired the teacher after the girl turned in screenshots of his messages. Colon, who was confronted after his vulgar words, claimed he was "drunk" at the time and realized "it was a mistake". He followed it up with an apology.
That said, the boy in Cheng's case told investigators that she never engaged in sexual behavior with him, and so both the NYPD and Bronx District Attorney’s Office did not file criminal charges against her. However, Timothy Taylor, a disciplinary hearing officer, called Cheng's conduct "particularly shocking."
According to records, Cheng's estranged husband was shocked to discover conversations between her and the youngster as he shared the Facebook password of her account.
In June 2017, Cheng, who has a five-year-old son, allegedly wrote: “Don’t use me as a bargaining chip for your gf [girlfriend]. 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.”
The fifth-grader responded: “Woow first I ain’t tell anybody about u. …” Cheng then added, “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?”
She even sent a photo of the pupil to a Facebook friend calling him her "boyfriend". In the same conversation, 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.”
According to The Post, Cheng now works for the Piano School of NYC in Manhattan. Aside from that, she gives piano lessons to students under age 10 at their homes with a parent present, a spokeswoman revealed.