A casual glance at their son’s cell phone revealed a shocking truth for a pair of Brooklyn parents: their 14-year-old child was being sexually exploited.
The alleged predator? Lenox Academy Middle School math teacher, Andre Braddy.
“I immediately saw text messages and images, pretty disturbing images,” mother Takisha Randall recalled at a Sunday press conference at Brooklyn Borough Hall. “I felt lost. I was angry. I didn’t know what to do.”
It’s been nearly a month since Randall walked into her son’s bedroom and found him sitting on his bed staring at his cell phone. She said she looked over his shoulder to see the screen filled with obscene photos and text messages from the boy’s math teacher.
According to the New York Daily News, police arrested 34-year-old Braddy on April 21 after detectives discovered a month’s worth of sexual abuse between the teacher, and his young eighth-grade student. Braddy now faces a laundry list of sex abuse and child endangerment charges. Since March 19, prosecutors said Braddy has had at least three sexual encounters with the Randalls’ son, including one in a Lenox Academy bathroom.
The disgraced teacher was jailed and placed in protective custody, as well as on suicide watch. Court documents show he was released from jail last Tuesday after posting $25,000 bail, however.
“There has to be some questions answered,” Randall said. “As parents, we all have a responsibility to make sure our children are safe.”
After the student’s mother contacted police, authorities set up a controlled call between Braddy and Randall’s son, during which the math teacher apologized for taking the boy’s virginity. Prosecutors said he also asked the eighth-grader if he liked the photos he sent him.
Since Braddy’s arrest, Randall and her husband, Marcus Randall, have called on the city’s Dept. of Education to better prevent predators like Braddy from teaching at local schools. Marcus Randall said learning his son had been molested by a teacher felt like “…someone just stabbed you, not in the back, but in the heart.”
“I’m in pain. My wife’s in pain. My family’s in pain,” he added. “Who’s not in pain right now? The person who confused my son into falling in love with him.”
Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams, who organized the press conference, also called on Lenox Academy to implement policies that allow students to more easily report incidents of abuse or inappropriate conduct.
“We need to bring in a child psychiatrist, sex crimes units and define what is the protocol for a child to report (abuse),” Adams said. “Right now we do not have one specific person where a child can say, ‘I feel someone was treating me inappropriately.’ Every child should be given instructions on good touch, bad touch.”
According to DOE spokesman Douglas Cohen, Braddy was “immediately reassigned” pending an investigation into the accusations against him. He hasn’t been fired, however.
“We’re continuing to invest in and expand school climate initiatives that build positive and supportive school communities and ensure students have trusted adults they can talk to about any concerns,” Cohen said.