Join the GOOGLE +Rubber Room Community

Wednesday, September 2, 2020

NYC School Workers Solidarity Campaign Rejects UFT Deal With NYC Mayor De Blasio

NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio
September 2, 2020 
Press Contact: Flynn Murray

NYC School Workers Solidarity Campaign Rejects UFT President Michael Mulgrew’s Deal with Mayor Bill de Blasio

Deal delays in-person public school reopening temporarily but does not address pressing obstacles to keeping students, families, and school workers safe from the COVID-19 virus.

New York, NY — In response to yesterday’s agreement between NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio and the United Federation of Teachers President Michael Mulgrew, the NYC School Workers Solidarity Campaign is issuing the following statement:

The New York City School Workers Solidarity Campaign stands behind our educators. We are a coalition of parents, educators, nurses, unions, and community members, and we support school workers’ demands to not reopen in-person schooling until it is safe.

The recent deal negotiated between Mulgrew and de Blasio does not in any way meet the standards for a safe reopening, including preliminary and regular testing of all school workers and students; ventilation; overall building safety; personal protective equipment (PPE); busing and commuting concerns; safe lunch plans; improvements to remote learning; and having no new cases in NYC for a period of at least 14 days.

By opening for in-person instruction on September 21 and requiring teachers and other staff to be present in school buildings on September 8, Mulgrew and de Blasio are not addressing any of the underlying health concerns, they are simply delaying the increased spread of this deadly virus. Our school staff, students, families, and communities are being put at risk because Mulgrew, de Blasio, and New York City Schools Chancellor Richard Carranza believe we should reopen the economy rather than protect the health and safety of New Yorkers.

De Blasio has suggested that he is pressing to reopen schools on behalf of a “silent majority” of disadvantaged families. However, as a new poll conducted by Sienna College indicates, the families who have been most disadvantaged by educational inequities oppose reopening in the highest numbers. A majority of NYC respondents (54%) support a fully remote start to the school year and state-wide 56% of low-income, 63% of Latino, and 65% of Black respondents support this measure. Already, close to 40% of families have opted-in to the DOE’s plan for 100% remote learning.

The focus on reopening schools in the face of massive safety issues has come at the direct expense of funding and planning to improve remote learning and provide support to families. This is despite the fact that all students, including those in the blended learning model, will spend the majority of their time learning remotely. The staffing shortage created by the city’s hybrid plan means that remote classes may be as large as 64 students. Meanwhile, many families still lack access to broadband internet and devices. These realities guarantee that reopening schools in these conditions will not address but instead exacerbate existing inequities.

As public school parent Kaliris Salas-Ramirez (PRESS NYC) points out, “This plan still does not address the longstanding inequities in our educational system that have been exacerbated by COVID. Black and Latinx students, ELLs, and students with IEPs remain the most impacted. Ten days is not long enough to fix ventilation issues, provide broadband to every student who needs it or expand our testing capacity — to name just a few of the many holes in the plan. While teachers and principals have been left to navigate and clean up this chaos, all they can do is forge on with little options or help. Ten days is not enough to make our schools safe. There are just too many deal-breakers.”

Across the state, the other largest New York school districts are opting out of in-person learning in favor of remote-only instruction. Buffalo, Yonkers, Rochester and Syracuse are all prioritizing their school workers and students; New York educators and families deserve the same respect and protection as their peers.

Meanwhile, in New York City, the Mayor and City Council have proposed massive budget cuts that will reduce school funding and possibly even slash 9,000 jobs from the Department of Education. A baseline of equitable, quality education is impossible without an adequate budget and becomes even more precarious during a pandemic that warrants additional effective safety precautions. The Department of Education must be fully funded before the Mayor decides to open in-person schooling. Our children need a millionaire tax (S7378, A10363) now!

We are fighting to keep school buildings closed and ensure that students are able to learn remotely in an equitable manner. We have already lost 70 UFT members to COVID, and countless other school workers and community members who contracted the virus from inside a DOE building. Students whose communities have been most devastated by the virus also attend some of the schools with the least resources. These are the families who are most at risk if there is a new wave of infections. There is no scenario in which reopening for in-person learning this fall does not result in more preventable deaths.

The NYC School Workers Solidarity Campaign will do everything we can to keep our school workers, students, and communities safe, not just from COVID 19, but also from leadership that chooses to do the bare minimum even as our most impacted families, school staff and communities vocalize their justified opposition and evidence-based claims about the untenable nature of these plans. In the midst of a global pandemic and an uprising for Black lives, how can we celebrate a ‘delay’ that doesn’t address the issues that got us here in the first place?

Pediatric nurse, public school parent, and NYSNA member Sean Petty stated, “The simple fact is that the current deal to re-open schools in-person will result in the illness and death of numerous educators and public school family members. Given recent data on how this virus is impacting younger populations, especially Black and Latinx children, we now also have to consider serious illness of children, and even death, to be a significant risk. The city does not currently have the testing and tracing capacity to effectively identify and contain new outbreaks with hundreds of thousands of teachers, students, and their families riding public transportation and interacting in enclosed spaces every day. And with $1 billion dollars being robbed from city workers in the current budget alongside impending layoffs in the school and hospital systems, I simply don’t trust the Mayor to provide the resources to keep this city safe. The only way to do this safely is to tax the rich, stop the layoffs, and scale up resources for testing, tracing hospitals, and school infrastructure. Protecting the pockets of the 1% and political reputations of our so-called leaders are just not worth the lives being put at risk under the current conditions.”

Co-endorsed by: PRESS NYC: Democratic Socialists of America, NYC:

The Most American COVID-19 Failure Yet


With her thin eyebrows arched high on her forehead, Robyn Openshaw urged her 212,000 fans to stand up to a new menace: contact tracing. Openshaw, a widely followed health blogger who goes by “Green Smoothie Girl” on Facebook, had recently heard of a bill in Congress that would provide $100 million to mobile health clinics to help monitor the spread of COVID-19.

“Are you willing to hand over your freedom and create a health police state?” she asked her viewers, punctuating her statements with a karate chop to the air. “We will hold them accountable for the rollout of what looks an awful lot like communism.”

Openshaw is so suspicious of contact tracing that when restaurants she dines at asking her for a phone number so they can call her if someone else at the restaurant tests positive for COVID-19, she sometimes gives them a fake number, she told me later.

Her fears are ill-founded. Contact tracers recommend that infected people self-isolate, but they have no power to enforce isolation. Most countries with coronavirus outbreaks have started contact tracing, and of them, only China is Communist. But Openshaw’s outraged reaction to the concept helps explain a major problem bedeviling the American pandemic response: Contact tracing does not work as well here as it has in other rich countries.

Contact tracing, the last two-thirds of health wonks’ “test-trace-isolate” mantra, was supposed to get us out of the pandemic. It’s meant to work like this: Let’s say Aunt Sally tests positive for COVID-19. A tracer working for the local public-health department calls her and asks for her contacts—anyone she’s spent more than 15 minutes with recently—and asks her to self-isolate. Then the tracer calls those “close contacts” of Aunt Sally’s and asks them to self-isolate too. The tracer doesn’t tell Aunt Sally’s contacts that she is the person who tested positive, only that someone they were in contact with did.

In the United States, this whole process is failing, allowing Aunt Sally to continue roaming about town, infecting others, and spreading COVID-19. There is no national contact-tracing program in the U.S., and contact tracers who work for the 40 local health departments in areas with the most coronavirus cases have reached just a fraction of the patients who have tested positive, a Reuters investigation found earlier this month. In Maryland, 25 percent of those called by contact tracers don’t pick up. At one point in Miami, contact tracers were able to reach only 17 percent of the infected. In Houston, New Jersey, and California’s Inland Empire, half of the people reached by contact tracers won’t cooperate. In Philadelphia, a third of COVID-19 patients claimed they had no contacts. Philadelphia is one of the country’s most densely populated cities; it’s hard to believe that a third of the people who got sick there had no contact with their fellow Philadelphians.

Some of these numbers might not be totally accurate in the long run. For instance, some health departments might count a person who picks up a contact tracer’s second or third call, instead of the first, as a nonresponse. But even giving U.S. health departments the benefit of the doubt, response rates here are far lower than those in other countries. Less than 1 percent of sick people fail to respond to contact tracers in Iceland, Ævar Pálmi Pálmason, who leads the country’s tracing effort, told me. In New Zealand, 86 percent of people contacted by tracers respond within 48 hours. “The U.S. contact-tracing effort has been a dismal failure compared with many of its peer countries,” says Lawrence Gostin, a professor of global health law at Georgetown University.

Contact tracers are not to blame. Tracers tend to be relatively low-paid, civic-minded workers who make calls relentlessly in an attempt to rescue the nation from a ruthless pandemic. But they’re struggling for three main reasons.

There are too many cases to track

In July, I called up a contact tracer in Texas to see what her job was like. She was worried that she’d be fired if she talked with the press, so I won’t disclose her name here. Every day, she gets on her laptop, sets herself to “available,” and signs into Microsoft Teams. She spends all day clicking a button to see if there’s a new contact she can call.

She enjoys the work, but she had some concerns. The big one was that she felt like a public-health Sisyphus. “It’s literally too late to do contact tracing in Texas,” she said. That month, Texas had 15,000 new cases on some days. “How are you going to go back and find all those old contacts? You can’t really trace if everyone and their cousin has it.”

The countries where contact tracing has worked best set up their tracing systems before cases exploded, and as cases grew, they hired more tracers. The U.S. has not done this. In June, when states were in the throes of reopening, only seven states and Washington, D.C., met the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s recommendation of 30 contact tracers per 100,000 residents, according to an NPR analysis. According to the latest data from Test and Trace, an organization that grades states on their testing and tracing capabilities, only seven states are currently considered “fully prepared to test and trace.” States meet this threshold if they have a test-positivity rate of 3 percent or less, provide test results in two days or less, and employ five to 15 contact tracers per positive test. “When we started to  cases start to rise back up, hospitalizations start to increase, and then people are looking at contact tracing as this thing that’s going to stop that? Well, that’s just not what contact tracing is able to do at that point,” says Candice Chen, a health-policy professor at George Washington University.

What’s more, once a tracer asks Aunt Sally to isolate, ensuring that she actually does so can be hard, especially if she doesn’t get paid leave from work, or if she lives in a cramped apartment with lots of other people. In Iceland, the government set up a special quarantine hotel as an option for people to isolate away from their families. But few places in the U.S. have set up free hotels for isolation. Larry Wile, the medical director of a health department in southwest Michigan, told me that a nearby county had set up a COVID-19 motel, but abandoned the effort when its staff quit out of fear of getting infected. Now, Wile said, the best his tracers can do is tell infected people to stay away from their family members and wash their hands.
Testing takes too long

In Iceland, Pálmason has been tested twice. Both times, he took the test at 10 a.m. and got his results by eight that evening. In the U.S., coronavirus tests are taking days to come back—largely because there are too many different kinds of tests and no national testing strategy—which further hampers contact tracers’ work. The infected are walking around for days, unwittingly infecting others. And people are naturally less likely to be able to rattle off the names of everyone they encountered five days ago, as opposed to whom they saw yesterday.

The logistical testing delays are exacerbated by quirks of the American health-care system that are making it even harder for people to get tested and quickly quarantine. Many people can’t get paid leave from work unless they provide proof of a positive COVID-19 test. So if Aunt Sally is feeling sick but her test results haven’t come back yet, she might be required to report to work or forfeit her paycheck for the day. “If that test isn’t showing up for a week, then they’ve already been exposing people for a week,” said another Texas contact tracer, who asked to remain anonymous, because she’s not authorized to speak with the press.
Many Americans fear and distrust government

It’s likely that the first time many Americans heard the term contact tracing was this spring. Before that, some public-health departments were little more than two people and an old computer, having lost a quarter of their workforce through aggressive budget cuts since 2009. Because the U.S. has had such an enfeebled public-health system for so long, the public doesn’t trust public-health workers at a time when it’s crucial that they do so. When called by a department they’ve never heard of and asked for a list of all their friends, Americans could be forgiven for thinking, Who the hell are these people?

Besides Openshaw, many others got up in arms about H.R. 6666, the contact-tracing bill. Some worried that its bill number was too close to the sign of Satan. “United States Citizens, contact your neighbor, your relatives, and your friends, and warn them that contact tracing is a ploy for the worst crime against humanity: democide and population control,” a man named Demetrios Alexandros wrote on Facebook, using a term for the murder of people by the government. Someone started a petition on soon after the bill was introduced, saying it was reminiscent of life in “NAZI Germany.”

This is despite the fact that the U.S.’s methods for contact tracing aren’t especially aggressive. In South Korea, which conducted a very successful tracing operation, tracers used cellphone data and credit-card transactions to find sick people’s contacts. In the U.S., tracers rely only on phone numbers and names provided voluntarily by individuals.

Still, contract tracing depends on trust, and many Americans don’t trust the government enough to give up their contacts or follow quarantine orders. Of the 121 agencies Reuters surveyed, more than three dozen said they had been hindered by peoples’ failure to answer their phone or provide their contacts. About half of the people whom contact tracers call don’t answer the phone, because they don’t want to talk with government representatives, Anthony Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said during a June news conference.

Examples of this distrust abound. A video with more than 325,000 views on YouTube recommends that people avoid contact tracers because they are tied to the Clinton Foundation and Bill Gates. In eastern Washington, angry locals threatened a contact tracer’s life. Some contact tracers have reported that people think they are identity thieves. (It doesn’t help that some actual scammers are posing as contact tracers.)

“I think that the politicization of contact tracing in America is definitely hampering its success,” Steve Waters, the head of Contrace, which helps connect contact tracers with health departments, told me recently. “In some areas, it’s perceived as a political act to not participate in contact tracing.”

These trust issues have become especially pronounced in the Black and Hispanic communities, two populations that have been disproportionately affected by COVID-19. Black and Hispanic people are more than twice as likely as white people to get COVID-19 and are more than four times as likely to be hospitalized with it. Several experts told me that wariness of the government in these communities has been exacerbated by the Trump administration’s public-charge rule, under which immigrants might jeopardize their green card if they accept public benefits. “If the word gets out in a community, ‘Don’t talk to the government, because we are worried the government will do bad things to us,’ then you don’t have trust,” John Auerbach, the president of Trust for America’s Health, a nonprofit that promotes public health, told me.

Some state and local officials have cleared a path for contact tracers. Few people pick up calls from numbers they don’t recognize, so in Massachusetts, the contact-tracing operation asked phone companies to display its phone number as the “Massachusetts COVID team,” even for people who don’t have caller ID. That small change persuaded many more people to answer their phone, according to K. J. Seung, a global-health expert who leads the state’s tracing effort. But not all places have done this; elsewhere, some people still think contact tracers are robocallers.

People have more trust in public-health workers when local health departments, governors, and the president speak with one voice. But some officials have downplayed the virus, some have taken it seriously, and others have ignored it entirely. Other than claiming that the U.S. has gotten “good at” it, Donald Trump hasn’t said much about contact tracing. But perhaps his actions should speak louder than his words: When someone in the White House gets sick, the executive branch traces all of that person’s contacts.

Olga Khazan is a staff writer at The Atlantic and the author of Weird: The Power of Being an Outsider in an Insider World.

Henry Schandel, Principal of MS 158 in Queens NY is Removed From The School

Henry Schandel
It's about time. Read the news about Henry Schandel and wonder why he was principal of MS 158 in Queens for so long. Also shocking was Chancellor Richard Carranza's reaction to the angry parents.

Betsy Combier
Editor, ADVOCATZ Blog

DOE removes principal from embattled Queens MS 158
The principal of a Queens middle school that became a flashpoint in a citywide debate over classroom safety and discipline last year has been removed, according to the Department of Education.
Former MS 158 Marie Curie principal Henry Schandel will now serve as an assistant principal at another school and be replaced by interim principal Peter McHugh, officials said.
A string of ugly incidents at the Bayside campus during the last academic year — including a vicious lunchroom beating and a classroom sexual assault — culminated in a packed parent meeting where Schools Chancellor Richard Carranza was heckled off the dais.
Both incidents eventually resulted in arrests — but parents of the two victims said the perpetrators were never suspended out of school and that Schandel failed to adequately address their concerns.
Carranza walked off the stage during a raucous January meeting where both teachers and parents complained of deteriorating classroom safety and lax discipline from administrators.
Arguing that suspensions are meted out in a racially disproportionate manner and that they lead to worsened academic outcomes, the DOE has pushed principals to embrace less punitive measures.
But parents at Marie Curie said administrators failed to properly handle severe misconduct last year and that other students were paying the price.
Katty Sterling, whose daughter was assaulted in the school’s cafeteria in a video that went viral, said the attacker remained in class while her child was too scared to return.
The father of another Marie Curie said Schandel never told him that his daughter was being sexually hounded by a student who was eventually arrested for forcibly groping her.
While Schandel became the focus of parental and teacher anger, some sources at the school said systemwide DOE policies were also to blame for the breakdown in safety last year.
Marie Curie, considered one of the better schools in District 26, will name a permanent principal at a later date.
McHugh, a 20-year veteran of the DOE and most recently the Guidance Manager/Climate & Culture Manager at the Queens North Borough Office began his career as a teacher at Richmond Hill High School.
“Mr. McHugh is an invaluable resource in providing care and support for students recovering from trauma — something our young people need now more than ever,” said District 26 Superintendent Danielle Giunta.
“He will provide steady, professional, and engaged leadership to the students, staff, and families of Marie Curie during this transitional period.”
Queens principal to hand out Valentine’s Day lollipops at violence-plagued middle school
Susan Edelman, NY POST, February 8, 2020

Critics — including the mom of the 8th-grader who was punched, kicked, jumped on and pulled by the hair during the beat down — didn’t sugarcoat their dismay, saying the plan sucks.
“What is wrong with this guy? Is he out of his mind?” a stunned Katty Sterling asked The Post.
“Apparently this guy is so desperate to look good in front of the district and parents, he’s doing this crazy show. He’s a clown.”
Sterling recalled that Schandel had downplayed the assault on her daughter before he knew video existed — and allegedly lied to her that the attacker was suspended outside the school.
“I wish he showed some love and compassion the day my daughter was attacked — not a month later,” the furious mom said.
Her daughter, bruised physically and emotionally, has not returned to school since the Jan. 9 assault, and will be getting home instruction starting Tuesday, Sterling said.
The educator’s idea hits a sour note, said the dad of the grope victim.
“It’s ridiculous. This is what they are spending their time on? Lollipops?” asked the dad, who on Jan. 16 tried to address the matter with Carranza at the District 26 meeting at MS 74. The DOE boss refused to hear the dad’s concerns, and walked out amid the din of protesters, there to demand his firing for various reasons

“Is that what is going to help teach these kids discipline? No. It’s not going to do anything other than distract them for five minutes. Come on,” the dad said.
A Marie Curie teacher also blasted the school leader, ripping him as “clueless.”
“Kids being sexually assaulted in the bathroom, fights caught on video in the lunchroom, and he’s handing out lollipops to all students,” the teacher said. “ I don’t know whether to laugh or cry.”
The lollipop directive comes as the city Department of Education admits it has failed to fully implement a parental bullying complaint system, as it promised to do under a class-action settlement two years ago.
DOE spokeswoman Miranda Barbot praised Schandel.
“When school leaders take the time to celebrate their students and invite staff to join in the effort to create a positive school environment, it should be encouraged not dismissed, and we support gestures like this across our schools,” she said.
Additional reporting by Selim Algar

TRAUMATIZED BY BEATING FOLLOWED BY CHEERS: Katty Sterling (left), the mother of the 13-year-old girl who was assaulted in the cafeteria by a 14-year-old former friend, said that beyond the beating she suffered she felt ‘betrayed by the students’ who cheered when her attacker raised her hands above her head in triumph. Leonard Davidman (right), the president of the District Council 37 local that represents Psychologists and the senior Psychologist at Metropolitan Hospital Center, said those students were swept up in ‘mob behavior [in which] people lose their individuality. They join in, so they don’t feel as guilty.’

School Bully Indulged At Her Victim's Expense

  •  Updated 

  • The most shocking moment in a 39-second video of the Jan. 9 beat-down by a 14-year-old girl at MS 158 Marie Curie in Bayside, Queens of a 13-year-old did not involve the punches and kicks delivered by the older girl as her target tried to cover up—an assault briefly interrupted by a Teacher who took hold of the aggressor, only to have her emerge seconds later jumping off a table to continue the attack.
    Rather, the incident entered a new dimension when the 14-year-old, having apparently inflicted enough damage to exhaust her rage, stood up on a table, raised her hands above her head like she’d just won the heavyweight title, and cheers erupted from the students who had been watching.
    There was a past history between the two girls. According to Katty Sterling, the girl’s mother, they had once been friends, and she had driven them to the mall and the movies.
    Things changed, she said in a Feb. 4 phone interview, when her daughter was placed in the same class as the other girl’s boyfriend.
    ‘Wasn’t Flirting,’ But That Didn’t Matter
    “My daughter likes to talk to everybody—she has a lot of friends,” Ms. Sterling said. “But that doesn’t mean she was flirting with him.”
    But, she said, the other girl became jealous, and last spring attacked her in the school locker room. “She threw her on the floor, kicked her in the head, scratched her in the face,” she said. But when Ms. Sterling came to MS 158 the following day, she said Principal Henry Schandel and Assistant Principal Robert LoCastro downplayed the incident.
    A day later, she said, the female student during a dispute with two boys brandished a knife, although she didn’t use it, but still no disciplinary action was taken against her.
    “Apparently the school is being run by the students and Mr. Schandel is just covering things up,” Ms. Sterling asserted.
    The Council of School Supervisors and Administrators, which represents both Principal Schandel and AP LoCastro, did not respond to an email detailing those and other accusations made against them by Ms. Sterling.
    It wasn’t clear why the students who witnessed the cafeteria rampage last month cheered the perpetrator, who initiated it by charging the younger girl and whaling away. Until then, there were two discrete sounds on the 39-second video: students shrieking and an adult woman moaning repeatedly, “Oh my God” at the disturbing sight, which seemed the only appropriate reaction to what was occurring.
    Dr. Leonard Davidman, the president of Psychologists Local 1189 of District Council 37 who is also the senior Psychologist at Metropolitan Hospital Center, said in a Feb. 4 phone interview that the fight was not unlike some he had witnessed among young patients at the hospital, but added, “I deal with kids who murder people.”
    As to the reaction by the student bystanders as if the victor in the one-sided confrontation had done something thrilling, he said, “In mob behavior, people lose their individuality. They join in, so they don’t feel as guilty. That’s a social-psychology phenomenon.”
    Dr. Davidman added about the video, which he viewed several times, “What struck me was that no kids intervened and went in to stop the fight. In the old days, some kids would have tried to break it up. And they’re not restrained by rules from breaking in” the way Teachers might be.
    ‘Afraid to Intervene’
    “Teachers are afraid to intervene,” he continued. It’s not because they worry that a student in a frenzy might injure them, although that’s a possibility. “They’re afraid of getting fired,” he said, because of the climate that has seeped into the school system since Mayor de Blasio took office and a priority was placed on reducing suspensions that would at least temporarily remove misbehaving students from their schools.
    “Principals say that they have no discretion: ‘We’re told to step back to lower the suspension rate,’“ Dr. Davidman said.
    Parents at MS 158, as well as some Teachers, have faulted Principal Schandel for failing to impose discipline, first in a harassment case that degenerated into a sexual assault—and even then he didn’t suspend the accused boy until after he’d been arrested—and then following the cafeteria beat-down.
    “You can’t just blame the Principal,” Dr. Davidman said. “You can’t just blame [Schools Chancellor Richard} Carranza,” who further stoked outrage among parents by walking out of a Jan. 16 Community Education Council forum when questioned about the two incidents, and subsequently acted as if he were the aggrieved party, rather than the parents of the two students who had confronted him.
    Teamsters Local 237 President Greg Floyd, who represents School Safety Agents, has been harshly critical of the scaling back of suspensions and other forms of discipline that began while Carmen Fariña was still Chancellor, and he contended that the greatest fault lay with Mayor de Blasio.
    “The lax disciplinary procedures will continue because the children have figured out that there are no consequences because of the ‘restorative justice’ and the Mayor’s no-suspension policy,” he said in a phone interview, referring to the technique in which, rather than punishing the aggressor, ways are sought to have that person make amends to the victim. In situations that previously would have resulted in suspensions, Mr. Floyd continued, “Children should be made to bring their parents to school [to learn of their alleged conduct] before they’re let back in.”
    An Emotional Meltdown
    Mr. Carranza has taken most of the heat for the insensitive reaction that began with his bolting the Jan. 16 forum and later complaining that he had been “set up” by a group that has called for his firing. He concluded a diatribe against his critics at an unrelated Jan. 28 press conference in which he spoke of “outside agitators” with a racist agenda with a ramble about how “every city I’ve worked in and lived in, there is a Mexican restaurant, I have a mariachi, traje and a guitar, I will not starve. So bring it on.”
    He acted as if he were the one who had been pummeled and traumatized to the cheers of a mob. It scored high on a scale for self-pity, but didn’t register a scintilla for empathy. The following day, he belatedly issued an apology, saying, “as a parent myself, I can only imagine the pain that parents are feeling when their children have been hurt.”
    It took him long enough, and apparently came with some prodding by officials within the administration who had become aware of how close he veered to talking himself out of a job. A petition circulated calling on the Mayor to fire Mr. Carranza, gathering more than 900 signatures in the first four days it was up.
    Ms. Sterling said that she had confronted the Chancellor at the Jan. 16 forum because previous attempts to speak to him privately had been unsuccessful. Besides wanting Mr. Schandel to be fired, she said, “And this Carranza who is claiming to be a professional isn’t acting like one.”
    The day after the cafeteria attack, she said that when she came to the school, the Principal denied having a copy of the video. She said that when she told him, “You don’t know how to take care of your students,” he replied, “What do you want me to tell you? These things are out of my hands.”
    “I told him,” she said, “ ‘I want this girl to be removed from school.’ He told me, ‘That’s not going to happen,’” and suggested she transfer her daughter to another school.
    One source at MS 158, speaking conditioned on anonymity, described the attacker as a chronic bully who was “unrepentant and unremorseful” about the beating she administered.
    Perverting Justice
    Ms. Sterling’s daughter, an eighth-grader who is due to graduate in June, has not returned to the school since the incident. The attitude her mother said was communicated to her in their Jan. 10 conversation in large measure was consistent with that emphasis on reducing suspensions, no matter how egregious the behavior involved and how often those accused have stepped way beyond the boundaries of acceptable behavior. When a school’s default answer to the victim is to transfer out, the justice it represents is perverted rather than restorative, a product of a twisted ideology that is immune to both the facts and basic decency.
    After several weeks in which Ms. Sterling went to MS 158, which is not far from her home in Bayside, to get her daughter’s homework assignments, the school—perhaps embarrassed by the negative coverage and a wave of outrage that has begun lapping at the feet of the Mayor as well as Mr. Carranza, is finally sending an instructor to provide home lessons to the 13-year-old.
    Ms. Sterling said she has retained a lawyer, despite what she claimed were pleas by some school officials not to take that route, and plans to sue. “They’ve been offering me other schools,” she said. “They’re trying to play with my brain.”
    She was emphatic that her daughter would not return to the school until Principal Schandel arrived there was well-regarded. Asked how the 13-year-old was dealing with the trauma of the attack and the failure to intervene by anyone in the cafeteria besides the Teacher who briefly diverted her assailant, Ms. Sterling said, “My daughter is very distressed. She feels betrayed by the schoolteachers and the students. She’s afraid she’s going to be attacked again.
    “And,” the mother continued, “she doesn’t want to be around the students who were celebrating.”