An ex-prodigy from the Bronx High School of Science, who later became a chemistry teacher in the city, resigned last year following an investigation that revealed her involvement in an inappropriate relationship with a male student at the Manhattan high school where she was employed.
Shoshana Leffler, aged 37, was once a star student at Bronx High School alongside her twin brother Abba, both recognized among 300 semifinalists in the prestigious Intel Science Talent Search.
After completing her education at Princeton and NYU, she secured a teaching position in 2019 with the city Department of Education.
However, in February 2023, Leffler, then 36 years old, was captured on video escorting a 17-year-old male student into a locked bathroom at the High School for Health Careers and Sciences in Manhattan’s Fort George. She was later seen giving the teenager a sum of money.
“What occurred in the bathroom can only be speculated about since Leffler resigned from the DOE without providing an explanation,” Anastasia Coleman, the Special Commissioner of Investigation for city schools, said in a report obtained by the New York Post.
A surveillance camera captured Leffler and the unnamed student “engaging in conversation” at 10:35 am on a Tuesday morning – one minute into the fourth period, when the teen “should have been in class,” the SCI report says.
The media outlet reported that an assistant principal spotted the two and rebuked Leffler for the improper tete-a-tete. But Leffler did not end the conversation there, she took the boy to the building’s fifth floor.
There, they “sought out a private room where security cameras could not record them,” investigators concluded – a staff bathroom with a lockable door.
They were in the washroom for 7 minutes. It was interrupted after another staff member arrived to use the facilities and found the bathroom locked. Once the staff member left, Leffler and the teen were filmed leaving separately.
The next day, Mr Leffler met up with the student in the stairwell again, where she was seen “handing [him] what appeared to be money, him pocketing this money, and then leaving the stairwell together.”
However, investigators found no evidence of contact between Leffler and the boy in the teacher’s phone records.
The student would not testify about the incident, the media outlet reported. Leffler quit while the probe was ongoing, and later refused to be questioned, leaving the nature of their relationship a mystery.