Not Out Of Control
Not Out Of Control
I read your December 21 headline "The School Is Out Of Control" with dismay. In the past I have spoken with Mr. Schwach and found him to be very helpful. I am fairly easy to contact. However, I was not given an opportunity to help him gather all of the facts so as to provide a full coverage of the events of December 17 - even after the I called the Wave's offices on Friday, Dec. 20. Had he attempted to contact me about the altercation in our halls (and I was there, along with fellow members of the Safety Committee, trying to break up the melee), I could have told them that one of the miscreants had just returned from a suspension and by law had to be readmitted to the school. I could have also told them that as the UFT Chapter Leader of this school, I speak with other chapter leaders in the borough, who report that they too are suffering this semester. I could have shown him how much of the blame for this can be laid at the feet of George W. Bush's No Child Left Behind legislation, which has destabilized normal zoning patterns. I could have informed him that the two students who committed the assault were quickly apprehended by Beach Channel staff and were prompt arrested and taken into custody by the fine officers of the 100 Precinct.
But I would be remiss if I didn't point out that whether we like it or not, the same U.S. Constitution that protects the right of the Wave to print what it wishes to also protects the due process rights of these two delinquents - they have a right to reasonable bail and a due process right to be readmitted to the building until Superintendent John Lee's office approves a suspension. Also, if Ms. Holt is told by the Superintendent to attend a meeting, that is not her fault. While as a father of two sons in the N.Y.C. public school system I can understand the anguish of the victim's father, I have to point out that he could have spoken to the principal when she returned to school (I would have taken the opportunity to talk with him if he would have asked). I could assure Mr. Schwach that the U.F.T., through the Chapter Executive Board and the School Safety Committee, is working with Ms. Holt to take all possible steps to increase security - I can promise you that neither Ms. Holt nor the Chapter is waiting for someone to be killed. Finally, as tough as it has been this semester - and without a doubt it has been rough - this school is not out of control.
DAVID SCOTT PECORARO
UFT CHAPTER CHAIR,