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NYC teacher, former prodigy took student into bathroom — before handing him wad of cash: probe

A former prodigy at the prestigious Bronx High School of Science who went on to become a city chemistry teacher resigned last year after she “engaged in an inappropriate relationship” with a male student in the Manhattan high school where she taught, an investigation found.

Shoshana Leffler, 37, was once a star student at the Bronx school, where she and her twin brother, Abba, were among 300 semifinalists in the nationwide Intel Science Talent Search.

She attended Princeton and NYU, then landed a teaching job in 2019 with the city Department of Education.

But in February 2023, Leffler, then 36, was caught on video taking a 17-year-old male student into a locked bathroom at the High School for Health Careers and Sciences in Manhattan’s Fort George — then later handing the teen a wad of cash.

Chemistry teacher Shoshana Leffler (seen here in 2008) had an “inappropriate relationship” with a student, investigators found. Frank Wojciechowski

“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 Post.

A surveillance camera in the school’s stairwell first picked up Leffler and the unnamed student “engaging in conversation” at 10:35 a.m. on a Tuesday — one minute into the fourth period, when the teen “should have been in class,” the SCI report says.

An assistant principal spotted the two and rebuked Leffler for the improper tete-a-tete.

But instead of ending the encounter, she took the boy to the building’s fifth floor, the report states.

The High School for Health Careers and Sciences building with a tower and trees.
The High School for Health Careers and Sciences, where the incident occurred, is housed with three other small high schools in the George Washington Educational Campus in Upper Manhattan. Google

There, they “sought out a private room where security cameras could not record them,” investigators concluded — a staff bathroom with a lockable door.

Their seven-minute lavatory rendezvous ended when another faculty member arrived to use the facilities and found the bathroom locked from the inside.

Once the interrupting staffer departed, Leffler and the teen were filmed leaving separately.

The next day, Leffler met up with the student in the stairwell again, where she was recorded “handing [him] what appeared to be money, him pocketing this money, and them leaving the stairwell together,” the report says.

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.

Leffler quit while the probe was ongoing, and later refused to be questioned, leaving the nature of their relationship a mystery.

A “problem code” was attached to Leffler’s DOE file, which could bar her from future employment with the city.

The SCI forwarded its report to the New York state Department of Education for possible action, but she remains licensed to teach in New York, records show. 

Shoshana earned a PhD in medical science from NYU with a dissertation on brain cell development.

Abba is a top pharma researcher with a string of patents and peer-reviewed papers to his credit — and both twins still live with their parents in the northern Bronx, according to public records.

“These are the students who, God willing, will find cures for diseases and will be our political leaders,” then-Bronx Science Principal Valerie Reidy told The Post in 2005.

Neither Leffler nor her attorney responded to requests for comment.

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