Southern Brooklyn

Goldstein H.S. Teacher Arrested For Bringing Toy Guns, But Others Say Adminstration Mishandled Incident


A Leon M. Goldstein High School for the Sciences (1830 Shore Boulevard) teacher was arrested by police yesterday for bringing an air rifle and a toy handgun into the building, but others say that she had the school’s permission and was busted for bumping heads with the school’s administration.

Latalladi (via LinkedIn)
Latalladi (via LinkedIn)

English teacher Vilma Latalladi, 53, walked into the school lobby carrying the rifle, a replica Red Ryder made famous in the film A Christmas Story, in her hands. A source tells Sheepshead Bites she approached the security desk and Assistant Principal Michael Weinstein to clear the items for a class demonstration. She was given the green-light, and headed to the elevator with two other teachers.

The phony firearms were intended to be used in a lesson plan. Her husband, Rick Luisi, told the Daily News that they’ve got the documentation to prove that she had clearance.

“She was gonna do a lesson a plan — something about talking about violence with the kids,” husband Rick Luisi said Thursday at their family home in the Rockaways. “My wife could take a staple and make it into a lesson plan.”

… “She cleared it with security, she had already gone through security and was in the classroom when they started to make a big deal about it,” Luisi said. “There’s documentation to prove it.”

After police put the teacher in handcuffs, they brought her to Coney Island Hospital for a psychiatric evaluation, and charged her with Prohibited Use of a Weapon and Unlawful Possession of a Weapon on School Grounds, according to the NYPD.

But a teacher at the school told Sheepshead Bites that it’s a whole lot of hullabaloo, and an example of mismanagement by the school’s administrator.

Speaking on the condition of anonymity for fear of reprisal, the long-time teacher at the school told Sheepshead Bites that Latalladi not only had permission, but was also the one to call the cops.

After heading to the classroom with security’s permission, the guard and assistant principal decided to pay Latalladi a visit.

“She called the police because she thought they were harassing her, and they called because they had to,” the source said.

At least 40 police officers arrived on the scene although the school never went into lockdown, the source said. The NYPD would not confirm whether they received the initial call from Latalladi.

The source said the conflict had deep roots in the relationship between Latalladi and the school’s administration.

“They’ve been butting heads for a while,” the source said. “It’s been an ongoing power struggle between the [Latalladi and Weinstein] where she was observed by the AP a few weeks ago and she wrote a letter to the superintendent saying they were harassing her.”

The source said the problems extend far beyond the one teacher, and that the administration has a record of heavy-handed reprisals.

“This administration is like the gang that couldn’t shoot straight. If she was allowed to go upstairs and that was acceptable, then why was she was arrested?” the source said. “My feeling about the administration is that it’s generally heavy-handed. If any teacher did something they didn’t like, they can get her arrested? And he ordered a psychiatric evaluation, which I’m not even sure is legal.”

The teacher also griped about how the administration handled the affair afterwards. They sent a letter home to parents describing the incident, but little else.

“There was no meeting called for the staff [yesterday] afternoon, which would have been the right thing to do. You don’t have to give us the dirty details, but basically say we did A, B and C,” the source said. “My concern is that they did not, in my estimation, follow a protocol that was taking everybody’s safety into account.”

Even the source noted, however, that bringing any form of gun into school was not the wisest decision.

“Why would she bring a gun into school? I can’t even imagine what she was thinking,” said the source. “If a kid makes a threatening gesture like pretending his hand is a gun, he can be suspended from school.”

A call to the school’s principal was not returned by publication. We will update this post if we receive a response.

Comment policy


  1. The source is incorrect. If a kid makes a threatening gesture like his hand is a gun, he will not automatically be suspended, he will not be sent for a psychiatric evaluation at a hospital and taken out in handcuffs. He will, most likely, be brought into a meeting with a team of individuals at the school to asses the threat and possibly be asked to attend counseling. Unless he goes to this school. Then it looks like all bets are off.

  2. According to your title, you say “guns”, while in the article you describe a replica toy gun – 1 gun only. According to most news sources, like NY1, 1010Wins, etc, she also brought an AIR RIFLE. News source got this info from NYPD.
    I am unfamiliar with guns, but I looked up what an air rifle is and apparently, it can KILL. Don’t underplay this.

  3. As the article states, she was arrested for bringing “an air rifle and a toy handgun into the building.” As I understand it, the toy handgun was in her purse. I am told, but could not confirm, that the rifle was actually broken and could not function.

    I do not intend to underplay it, and think it was pretty foolish to bring it in for any reason, and should be taken very seriously. But there’s a strong argument that there’s more to the story and potentially a larger problem at the school that I’m attempting to shed light on.

  4. This is crazy. She could have shot a million people in 2 seconds with that fake plastic gun. Very scary situation. Its a good thing all those cops showed up to stop her.

  5. This teacher was framed. It’s a common occurrence in the schools these days, in order to pressure teachers to leave. I’ve seen it on smaller scales, but this one is a doozy!

  6. Well at least it’s true that Latalladi didn’t like the administration. Also she took the guns to school as a prop for her senior class to act out a scene. Although i also agree that she is a teacher and she should know better than to bring a gun to school much less 2 of them. But is she did get approval, which she shouldn’t have had in the first place, then why go bug her about it in the middle of first period. And now I don’t have an english teacher -.-

  7. so you would rather prefer no cops show up to”‘female armed with rifle in school” 911 call…

  8. I attended Goldstein highschool and actually had the opportunity to have Latalladi as one of my teachers. We always said she was crazy. But she is completely harmless. Her nutty ways of demonstrating helped us actually get involved and learn something. She was one of the most energetic and funny teachers I ever had. A psychiatric evaluation was not needed. And she does not deserve the rumors that are being started because of this. It’s not like she was going to shoot one of the students or anyone else for that matter. Also it’s not like her students are 12 years old. These are highschool students who obviously know what a gun is capable of doing. People have said that she could have “traumatized” her students. You don’t think more than half of these highschool boys play call of duty? They’d be traumatized on a daily basis.

  9. Point is cops always get there after the fact. Good thing in this case they werent even necessary.

  10. Rumors mean nothing let’s see the facts. we have sleeping guards at the World Trade Center and we send 40 cops to arrest teacher with toy gun. Let the DOE investigate the school and see if everything is kosher or did they set her up.

  11. The silicon chip inside her head gets switched to overload.
    And nobody’s gonna go to school today – she’s gonna make them stay at home.

  12. Seems to me that she gave them an easy opportunity to take action against her. But if she can prove that the A.P. had given her permission then their actions take on the form of harassment. This could get quite interesting. I see the possibility of lawsuits down the line.

  13. Hey, things are really weird in this situation. The high school was put under house arrest. The building was told not to leave the premises.

  14. regardless of the fact that she brought in the guns to school. Why bring in the guns? Shit I can make the gesture of my hand as a gun and bam! we have understanding… People just have smarts but no (common) sense

  15. This all has too do with the horrible principle Scott Hughes! No harm was intended at all! We were acting out a play in my class, she got the clear from security! The principle found this out too be the perfect sistuation to get rid of her! She did nothing wrong!! The principle should be sued, for destroying my teachers rep and if he truly thought it was a real “gun” (Which it was NOT) the school should’ve been under locker down right away! Which it’s wasn’t, when the principle was asked why was the school not on lock down if you thought this needs NYC cops involved, he said “I wasn’t in the right state of mind” I’m sorry that response should have him fired on spot! #Freevillma WE WANT OUR TEACHER BACK!

  16. Ms. Latalladi was a great teacher, she stood up for her students whole heartedly. Her reputation is being ruined by our principal and our assistant principal. They do not like Ms. Latalladi and have been out to get her for a whole now. They do not deserve to work with children. Our principal does not care about the children at all. I wonder why he is considered an educator. I’m worried what the school will turn into if he stays principal.

  17. Did they set her up moron. Look at the makeup or demographics of the NYC school children. Now, when you look at the staff these teachers are 80% white. No Asians from Avenue U or Sunset park. No Indians, a little number of mostly hispanics and blacks accounting for 20%. Look At the recent news headlines for the past year three arrest stories each day of these scum white teachers abusing kids. Most big cities are minority majority. having one fat assed whitey male as a principal, with his white female possey of hoe’s will not cover up the racial discrimination against minority teachers much longer. For you see the white man and woman believe that they can cover up their sins of the feminist perversion movement, by pimping out their women into the workforce instead of the white man. I am a brother, I would want a black woman to bring home the bacon, while I sleep all day like the russian men of sheepshead bay.

  18. This is almost a two year anniversary of Mrs. Erin Sayar. Maybe this teacher should have taught this class some sex education by having a male student simulate a vaginal exam in front of the class? Par for the course. For our educational system in Brooklyn.

  19. Your post has nothing to do with the situation. You just have a problem with race that you need to take somewhere else.

  20. just shows the teacher is doing an awful job. You can’t spell for anything. to, principal, situation, lockdown… Jeez

  21. word to the wise. Under Zaza, the school was in the same mess its in now. Google the LMG Hitler costume circa 2006. LMG is great at getting it’s face on the cover of ridiculous news stories

  22. No you need to take your problem with race somewhere else. i am tired of these Russians running their mouth, while living in plush surrondings, driving fancy cars, and milking the public education system for all it is worth. The Russians think thatthey are Tea Party hardy people, no they are an entitlement. While kids in bay Ridge and marine park attend private schools the Russians scum go to public school. This incident like every other incident is because of russian immoraliy. russian men are like the Heridic jews in Israel. They sit at home all day and let their women teachers and nurses come home and feed them or diaper them.

  23. That’s odd, when I asked the principal the same question, he stated that there was no lockdown because there was no direct threat at that time and that the actions taken were to ensure that no lockdown needed to be called. It appeared that the actions taken achieved these results.
    By the way, if you’re going to lie about what the principal said, at least spell basic words correctly – you’re representing our school afterall! He’s not the most popular principal I know, but there’s no need to make up statements about him!

  24. Get a life. We are here defending an innocent teacher and you ignorant fool rather comment on tedious things, please stay out. A teacher’s job is in jeopardy and you are doing nothing to help.

  25. When questions are directed to Mr. Hughes, you are given the run around and nothing is directly answered. There was no lockdown simply because there was no threat. No statements were made up by Joe. A class of 30+ students all witnessed him say the same thing.

  26. I know about this story. You are not in the school right now to know what is going on. So you don’t know how the school is.

  27. Wow! This is what I’m talking about! The principal is so inconsistent! He is always giving the run around an telling everyone different stories. This man should not be an educator.

  28. This situation, like many other situations that have made Goldstein “news worthy”, is being blown way out of proportion. Whether or not this is being done intentionally by faculty I can’t say. However, I do know that the Assistant Principal, Michael Weinstein is a sexist jerk. He consistently goes to bat to defend male workers at the school who should have been fired years ago while micro-managing and undermining his female staff whom he oversees. Preferential treatment is also given to his “IT Team” who apparently all needed I-Pads in order to do their jobs properly, give me a break he just wants to be friends with these guys. What I find so disheartening about Goldstein is that situations like this are misconstrued and blown up into bad press and serious issues that I know for a fact are happening within those halls are being swept under the rug in order to protect our sullied name any further. A revision of administration is 100% necessary if this high school wants to return to its former Brooklyn glory.

  29. It’s “You’re.” As in: “You are.” As in: “You’re an idiot.” Not “Your an idiot.” I don’t know how the Common Core curriculum is going to help kids who can’t even understand simple contractions. What a world… we’re (“we are”) all going to hell in a hand basket if the future is left to people who don’t (“do not”) wish to know how to communicate properly. Sad.

  30. Hi Mr. Berke,

    As a Goldstein student I can say with certainty that there is indeed a larger problem here at the root of this issue. The new principal here, Principal Hughes has caused a major power struggle in the school that has affected both students and teachers alike. It first started when he changed some of the
    school’s policies. When he first arrived as Interim Acting Principal, he allegedly promised teachers, he wouldn’t change atmosphere of the school. He said it was a warm environment and a close community and he wanted to keep it this way. However, after he became the school’s official principal, everything began to change. He pushed for longer school days, taking away after-school tutoring hours in exchange for more class time. The students and parents were distraught. Teachers had previously been available to tutor their students after-school, a resource utilized by many of the students in AP and Regents classes. Teachers of these classes were given packed schedules and tutoring quickly became unavailable for many of these classes.

    This created a rift between teachers and the new administration, which placed a black mark on the warm atmosphere that once enveloped the school. What started as a conflict became a game of politics as Mr. Hughes rewarded the teachers and staff most receptive to his rules. Assistant Principal Henrietta Staub was changed from AP of math and science to AP of science and foreign language while Counselor of Student Affairs, Steven Sclavos was promoted to AP of English, Math and SocialStudies. This is no doubt a response to Ms. Staub’s strong support of the students in several issues. In addition Assistant Principal of Organization, Michael Weinstein has now become “deputy” as some teachers have nicknamed him. He does most of the policing and confrontation Hughes is hesitant to do.

    This rift was most exemplified by a change in the school’s cell phone policy. Under the old administration there had been lenient enforcement of the cell phone ban. Students could use phones during lunch or after school hours as long as they kept them in backpacks during class. In accordance to Bloomberg’s laws, Principal Hughes ordered teachers to strictly enforce the rule, instructing them to confiscate anything they see or hear before, during or after school hours, even an outline of a cell phone in someone’s backpack or pocket. The teachers were less than supportive of this policy. It interfered more with class time and many of the teachers had good relationships with their students. Sending cell phones to the principal’s office could easily damage the atmosphere in the classroom. Many of the teachers have been inconsistent with their enforcement of the rules, even if they’ve been hesitant to confront him on the issue.

    Hughes has tried to use certain shrewd tactics to increase enforcement of these rules. He handed out contracts one day in school, making students sign their acknowledgement and acceptance of the new rules, though he never gave
    them the chance to show these contracts to their parents. These contracts demanded that parents pick up their children’s confiscated cell phones so this move was likely intentional. He also brought NYPD officers and metal detectors into the school less than a week after he made these new rules. Students had to wait in line as police officers called out orders, telling everyone to remove their belts and place any metal they had in the x-ray machine. Students who set off the metal detector were frisked by officers and any who had cell phones in backpacks or pockets had them immediately taken away. Students were in tears, being rather aggressively patted down by officers and then showing up late to first period class. Parents were also in an outrage. Mr. Hughes and Mr. Weinstein first told students and parents that these searches were random and that it just happened to be our school chosen by the police. However, students and parents remained unconvinced. It seemed too close to the new cell phone policy to just be a coincidence. Eventually Mr. Hughes told parents at a PA meeting that bullet casings were found in the school. Supposedly he called the
    police right after to schedule a search though it’s questionable why parents and students were never alerted of the issue. It’s difficult to confirm the accuracy of his claim but it was never supported by the school security agents or the staff.The very fact that his story changed led to some immediate mistrust by teachers and parents.

    It’s easy to see how a school with such tensions would erupt
    in such a manner. Mrs. Latalladi was an excellent teacher but she had an outspoken personality that likely did not go over well with the administration. There’s no way to tell if she was set up by the school but there’s little doubt in my mind that there were ulterior motives. We have yet to see who will take the
    blame for this incident. It may be placed on Mr. Weinstein or the security but it’s unlikely that Mr. Hughes will admit anything that could jeopardize his career. He comes off as a laidback and affable person but ever since he came, the school has drastically changed. He’s changed his story before like about the police search and metal detectors and his opinions and decisions often evolve based on his position and career. There are deep tensions in the school and it now seems those who speak out soon find themselves in jail. Hopefully
    some good will come out this and an investigation will be done but in all likelihood nothing will be found. The administration is good at covering its tracks and the students, teachers and parents will continue to suffer as a result.

  31. This principal is not a sexist, as there are more women than men on staff there. The problem is with the Americans in the neighborhood with this issue. Look at the staff, where are all the russian women in the neighborhood. They are busy taking away the jobs of their men in engineering and in Business. They should instead focus on teaching. The Americans seem to ignore Russians in hiring, while the Russians ignore every other ethnic group in the neighborhood. The scum Russians and Americans vote Tea Party, well then let the Tea Party come and feed their mouths. When it comes to funding education in Brooklyn, I hope that Diblasio says just say nyet! to South Brooklyn. What goes around comes around. These russians preached quality of life against the muslims, it is against them that a quality of life ordinance is needed. Then the Americans, the real good white folks can get along with the other races, like religous Jews and Muslims. NYET!

  32. Don’t worry I’m a teacher in the school, we going to make sure Scott Hughes is under full investigation. With his little tag along….

  33. as a teacher you should be smarter about posting comments like this online… It hurts your case, it doesn’t help it

  34. Don’t be mad because we Russians drive around expensive cars while not working a day in our life, we have something you “brothers” don’t, brains.

  35. Thank you for stepping up Snot or is it Scott is trying to have her fired after 17 years of being an outstanding teacher,, Don’t let it happen,, Snot must go down not Ms Latalladi FREE VILMA

  36. Oh!! Don’t worry this Weinstein guy (The Deputy) he calls himself is going down too! there’s a new sheriff in town…

  37. Ms. Latalladi is a gifted teacher that has opened the minds of hundreds if not thousands of our youth and have gone on to college and are now the future of America, Don’t let Snot or is it Scott Hughes an his Deputy Weinstein ruin her good name. . Free Vilma

  38. I heard Snot or is it Scott locks the bathrooms in the day, some one was smoking,, so the rest of the students must hold it ??? are you sick in the head Scott or is it Snot and you had that poor teacher sent to a Psycho ward.. there is a new Sheriff is in town!!! Snot I mean Scott

  39. Thanks Frank.. Stay on top of this Buddy this Mr.Hughs is trying ruin Ms Latalladi’s life and career, he is bad news! brother Don’t let this happen… (( after the TOY GUN thing goes away and it will then she has to go before the DOE advocates and thats were Mr. Hughs will come up with lies it will a ruin this teacher of 17 years career you guys got to come forth and expose him…

  40. Don’t let them take her job,, Thats what Scott wants…. you students are the first ones to see the whole picture don’t stop until the whole truth comes out.. Scott & Michael are the guilty ones. You guys are the only ones that can help her out of this DRAMA !! that Scott& Michael created when he walked into that great HS,, that he will ruin, if you guys don’t FREE VILMA!!

  41. Thanks Kid…You guys have to expose that Scott and Michael more and more they are not what you need in a school like that sounds like Ms.Lattalladi is the one who would fit that Principal’s job she cares about the students not the politics,,, Where is she now!! Don’t stop to FREE VILMA!!!

  42. Free Vilma She needs you all to stand by her!!! He is a scoundrel don’t let him ruin Ms. Latalladi’s life

  43. How can you not be in the right state of mind! in a situation like that day the toy guns were brought in by Ms Latalladi (He new they were toys) imagine in a real crisis,, what would that do to his mind I would hate to find out. You poor students FREE VILMA

  44. Speak up!! don’t let a bad principal or people that don’t know the truth about the drama he started with the school and Ms Latalladi scare you!!!

  45. I really think Principal Scott Hughs or is it not a stable person,, suppose a students parent needs to get in touch with there son or daughter in an EMERGENCY!!!then What!! Call The Principal and his Deputy Michael Weinstein .. (I Don’t Think So ) FREE VILMA KIDS!!!!

  46. Why weren’t the bullet casings given to the police yet or that day, Parents don’t let him lie to you he is bad news..

  47. Your Sharp Morty.. Don’t let them bring down a Great teacher,, over a bad Principal… HELP!! FREE!! VILMA !!

  48. I would like to meet this Ms Latalladi,,, I know out spoken people are often feared Because they speak the truth and are for the people,,, Thank You Ms. Latalladi you are a gem.. FREE VILMA LATALLADI NOW!!!!

  49. Stay on top of this worried student…..You guys and some of the other teachers are the only ones that know the real truth…Don’t let him bring down a gifted teacher because that what he is doing.. FREE VILMA!!!

  50. You idiots are missing the point. have you not seen the stories of the recent school shootings. The principal is a hero for standing up for justice and public saferty. I tell you South Brooklyn is not at all conservative. PERVERT BOTH the kids and parents, probably sleep with on another and the students probably a half of teachers are sleeping with the students.

  51. OR you can know the FULL TRUE story and actually be in the school on a daily basis to know that the principal has a personal vendetta against the teacher and the toy guns were a prop for a scene in an English class and the students knew before hand that these props were coming into class and NO ONE was alarmed. Because they were toy guns. If a hero is someone who robs someone of their job and destroys their name for personal gain, then yes, by all means, he is a hero.


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