Precinct 333

Thursday, March 24, 2005

This Is Scary!

I pity the children who have been in this man’s classroom.

A Bronx teacher who repeatedly flunked his state certification exam paid a formerly homeless man with a developmental disorder $2 to take the test for him, authorities said yesterday.

The illegal stand-in - who looks nothing like teacher Wayne Brightly - not only passed the high-stakes test, he scored so much better than the teacher had previously that the state knew something was wrong, officials said.

"I was pressured into it. He threatened me," the bogus test-taker Rubin Leitner told the Daily News yesterday after Special Schools Investigator Richard Condon revealed the scam.

"I gave him my all," said Leitner, 58, who suffers from Asperger's syndrome, a disorder similar to autism. "He gave me what he thought I was worth."

Brightly, 38, a teacher at one of the city's worst schools, Middle School 142, allegedly concocted the plot to swap identities with Leitner last summer. If he failed the state exam again, Brightly risked losing his $59,000-a-year job.

Let’s see if you can tell the difference between the two men.

Here’s Bright. He’s the teacher.

Here’s Leitner. He’s the ex-homeless guy with a developmental disability.

Uh – yeah, they could be twins. Just add two decades, 100 pounds and a truck-load of skin-bleaching cream. I guess Bright really is stupid.

And if that didn’t get you to draw the conclusion, try this part of the article out for size.

When The News went to Brightly's Mount Vernon home yesterday, a man who strongly resembled him insisted Leitner took the test on his own. The man, who appeared to be in his late 30s, denied being Brightly - saying he was the teacher's son.

Yep, he sounds like a real winner to me.


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