Evidently Bronx Health Science High School believes in putting kids in a re-assignment in order to keep them from lowering school grades.
Happens all the time....let's stop this practice once and for all.
Bronx Health Sciences using Rubber Room to pressure kids out: critics
|Principal Miriam rivas|
Bx. school stashes struggling students to pad stats
The leaders of a Bronx public high school who have illicitly pressured dozens of struggling students to transfer out in recent years to keep up a 95 percent graduation rate are trying to push out more teens — with the help of an in-school holding pen, critics charge.
Despite an ongoing probe by the city’s Department of Education on the issue, administrators at Bronx Health Sciences HS are allegedly pulling struggling students from class for minor infractions and sticking them in an office with nothing to do — leaving them there for hours, days or weeks until their parents come in for a conference — in a bid to break them.
At those meetings, administrators have repeatedly been telling parents to transfer their kids elsewhere because of alleged behavioral or academic issues, documents show.
Families identified Assistant Principal Maudi Rodriguez as the main enforcer of the policy.
Senior Lenworth Cuveilje said that he was repeatedly badgered to transfer because of occasional academic struggles and that he finally agreed to go to a new school this summer. His transfer didn’t come through by the start of this school year, and BHS still barred him from attending class last week.
“They wouldn’t let me go to class . . . They made me sit in an office [all day],” the 18-year-old said of his first day of school.
“They said I don’t have enough credits [to graduate on time], so they are trying to make me transfer,” he said. “They have done that to a lot of kids here in the last year.”
Cuveilje’s mom, Camille Mitchell, said she came to a scheduled appointment with Principal Miriam Rivas on Friday but left after being kept waiting for 90 minutes.
“I’m really upset right now because this is crazy,” she said. “I don’t think they should be keeping him out of school.”
Approached outside the school Friday, Rodriguez and Rivas said nothing when asked if they’ve been pushing students out. They refused to confirm their identities before getting into a car together and driving off.
Other students said they’ve been sent to BHS’s rubber room — which is like the holding areas where, until recently, teachers accused of misconduct were sent and did nothing all day — simply for talking to students from another school in the same building, dying their hair or wearing boots instead of shoes.
In another gross violation of DOE policy, students who made minor missteps have allegedly been sent home for the day.
Schools are not permitted to force out unwanted kids, but Mitchell insisted to The Post that BHS made her son fall behind even more by sending him home for forgetting to remove his hat or for wearing dark brown shoes instead of the required black ones.
But she said her son likes his classmates and teachers so much that even when he lacks enough bus fare to travel the 2.3 miles from his Bronxwood home to the Baychester school, he walks.
“Why are they doing this? Why are they torturing him?” she asked. “Every year, it’s the same thing. I spend more time going into the school for meetings than I do at work.”
The Post reported in July that Bronx Health Sciences has forced out so many kids over the years that only 58 students counted toward its 2011 graduation rate out of an initial freshman class of 107.
Since then, hosts of parents and students have come forward to say BHS administrators have tried to pressure them, too — and that the DOE has turned a blind eye to the misdeeds at one of its beloved, new small high schools.
One mom said she was bullied into transferring her daughter because school officials refused to let the girl attend class for two straight weeks, instead keeping her in the Rubber Room and marking her absent. The reason?
She had dyed her hair red — administrators called it a “distraction to the learning environment” — and her mom wouldn’t cave in to the school’s demands that she change it back, the mother said.
Nearly a dozen families said they had been in touch with 311 or the DOE’s Bronx enrollment office on Zerega Avenue to complain about the school’s practices.
That office is the one that had to approve the transfers and would have clearly known that the high number of transfers — nearly all of them instigated by the school — ran counter to DOE policy.
Logs of calls to 311 — which are shared with the DOE — confirm that there have been complaints about student transfers at BHS going back to 2007.
DOE officials launched a probe only in mid-July, after The Post broke the story.
An Education Department rep only said of the latest charges: “This matter is under investigation. The DOE takes these allegations seriously, and if we found them to be substantiated, we would bring disciplinary charges to those involved.”Additional reporting by Gillian Kleiman