PS 42 Sex Ed?
A number of staff members at the long-troubled Public School 42 in Arverne are seeking to have their acting principal, who reportedly calls the black female teachers at the school “home girls,” removed from the school, citing a long list of grievances and what they term “illegal” activities, including the failure to report an incident in which several students were caught having sex in the school’s basement.
Two representatives of the staff, each of whom asked not to be identified because of a fear of retribution, came to The Wave to talk about acting principal Stephanie Martin.
“There are all sorts of things going on at the school that make it impossible to do your job,” one of the staffers said. “We have intruders in the building all the time, we don’t have the materials that we need to teach the curriculum, there is no training, a special education class was broken up because the teacher was sick and the kids were all put into regular education classes without any support, and several children were found having sexual relations and it was never reported to the district or the Department of Education.”
“She never reports any student’s transgressions because she wants her school to look good,” the staffer added.
According to the sources, the sexual activity took place on December 9, when several of the school’s sixth-graders were caught having sex in the school’s dark basement. “We don’t believe that the incident was reported,” the staffer said. “Certainly, no action was taken by the administration and the kids remained in class.”
On December 17, they said, there was a “riot” on the fifth floor when several seventh-grade students got involved in a fight that drew dozens of other students from nearby rooms. Soon, they say, many kids were involved in the fight. When Martin tried to intervene, they said, a student spun her around and attacked her. They do not believe the incident was ever reported, and the student served four days in the SAVE Room as a punishment.
They add that students as young as five years old regularly leave the building and those incidents are not reported, as required by chancellor’s regulations.
On January 10, a male kindergarten student pulled the fire alarm and then punched the teacher who tried to stop him. He ran the halls for two hours, staffers say, before he was finally grabbed by school staff. During those two hours, he allegedly disturbed many classrooms by running in and out of the rooms. Staffers say that the incident was not reported.
Martin pointed to the problems in a staff memo that was distributed on January 11.
“All of our efforts to move this school forward so that our children can leave us with the skills needed to become college and career ready will be for naught if we don’t get a firm handle of the student behaviors that is (sic) making educating our community impossible,” she wrote. “By student behaviors I am directly referring to the following: students leaving class without permission, throwing objects, destroying school property, smearing feces in the bathroom, bullying other students, cursing and roaming the halls.”
In her memo, Martin takes a shot at the school’s teachers, subtly blaming “those who are overwhelmed by the changes enacted to bring our school to a place where we would one day want to bring our own children.”
Margie Feinberg, a spokesperson for the Department of Education said on Tuesday that there was “an incident of a sexual nature” at the school, but that it was investigated and “disciplinary action was taken.”
She added that she had no record of a riot at the school on that date or any other date.”