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Sunday, February 22, 2009

Disarray at PS 154X in the South Bronx, Teachers There Report

What is going on at PS 154X in the South Bronx? And what is Joel Klein doing about it?

Teachers are in an uproar at PS 154X in District 7 in the South Bronx. A source there has told us that one of the Assistant Principals, Derrick Townsend, is harming the children with rough and abusive actions that are excessive. They say that what is happening at PS 154 does not serve the best interests of the children.

The school has 500 students, yet there are three assistant principals. The school has an "administrative teacher" and basically no one knows what her duties entail. There is no SAVE room because as the principal has said, according to teachers, "I don't believe in the SAVE room", and "I do not wish to discipline students".

Students are moved out of a CTT class into a mainstream class without parental notice or consent. The 12:1:1 kindergarden class is currently being taught by the third teacher in the classroom for this year, and there are many questions as to whether or not any of the children in this class are appropriately placed. When a student from this class was asked to leave with AP Townsend, and this student decided that he did not want to walk any more, Mr. Townsend dragged him 40 feet down the hall (September 29, 2008).

Also from a source at the school:

On February 13, 2009 a young third grade girl told her teacher that a boy had touched her. Mr. Townsend went to the classroom and humiliated the girl. A struggle ensued, leaving the girl's arm buised. She was taken to the nurse, who said the bruises were "old".

On or about November 7th 2008 AP Derrick Townsend grabbed a 3rd grader by the shirt, dragged him and tore the boy's shirt. The mother, who is in the school everyday, was never initially informed.

On October 14 student A in the 5th grade said he wanted to blow up the school. His punishment - he can't go outside for lunch and that he has to do "community service" for two weeks with a first grade class at that time - was never carried out. Nor was it ever reported.

A student has made several threats to a teacher. The principal's reaction has been to give more counseling to the student and it has never been reported. There is no SAVE room, so students that act up are simply placed in another classroom, disrupting instruction at the new location. Similarly, students are brought into the school after being suspended from other schools and placed in PS 154X classrooms at random. Almost always this starts trouble. Sometimes these displaced students are supposed to receive special education related services and/or staffing, which, as the teacher at PS 154 does not have the IEPs, cannot be provided. Often, a student who gets disruptive, spends the rest of the day in the office with Mr. Townsend, without any instruction.