2011-04-08 / Front Page

Expulsion At Five

Parent Charges School ‘Stigmatizes’ Son
By Howard Schwach


The Peninsula Preparatory Academy, a local charter school, is trying to expel a kindergarten student for bad behavior. The Peninsula Preparatory Academy, a local charter school, is trying to expel a kindergarten student for bad behavior. The motto of the Peninsula Preparatory Academy charter school on Beach 111 Street is “The Future is Bright,” but for one little five-year-old kindergarten student, the future looks bleak.

The young boy, whose name is being withheld by The Wave because of his age, was suspended three times this school year by Principal Ericka Wala. His mother, Latesha Thompson is scheduled to face the school’s board of directors and an expulsion hearing later this month.

“They’ve provided my son with an unfair start to his school career,” Thompson told The Wave last week. “They have stigmatized him because the suspensions and the expulsion will be on his permanent school record forever. They have not given him a chance for a decent life.”

In a suspension letter dated March 2, Wala wrote, “We regret that we find it necessary to suspend your son for five days due to the following behavior: disrupting the educational process; being insubordinate; defying or disobeying the lawful authority of school personnel; using force against school personnel, hitting the teacher and engaging in an act of coercion or threatening violence, injury or harm to another.”

These, the mother points out, are the charges against a tiny five-year-old in his first year in a public school setting.”

“The allegations are outrageous,” Thompson said. “My son is a strong-minded little boy who is learning new things every day and he is never aggressive or threatening.”

She says that the teacher asked her son to get out of his seat and he refused.

The teacher then grabbed him hard by both his collar and his arm to get him out of the seat, his mother alleges. He swung at her to get her to let go and hit her hand.

The principal told Thompson that her son had “verbally abused” an assistant principal after the incident.

The principal also said that her son headbutted two other children, but refused to supply any details to the parent.

Thompson believes that the school gave up on her son after he was suspended for the first time in early October. He was suspended again in early March and then again on March 18.

“The school says he can’t stay because he has behavioral problems because they don’t want to deal with a kid who gives them more work than they want to do,” Thompson says. “I came forward because I don’t want any other parents at PPA to have to go through what I am going through. Schools shouldn’t treat either young children or their parents this way. I hope they get away from the harsh punishments they give out such as what they did to my son. I hope they learn to deal with children who may present a problem.”

Thompson says that she may not attend the board meeting in which she expects her son to be expelled.

I am looking for a new school for my son,” she said. “I don’t want him to have to go back there.”

The Wave’s calls to the school were referred to the Department of Education, which sponsors the school.

A spokesperson for the Department of Education declined to comment.

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Many things wrong here.

Many things wrong here. Blame should go all around. First, the parent for not teaching respect to the child when dealing with adults. Second, the teacher who initially grabbed the child after he refused to move. Third, the school for not providing any educational support to the child or parent. What is more upsetting is the comments provided by some in this post. They can harshly criticize the parent without knowing anything about her, but cannot offer any 'real' solutions for either side. Schools and parents should work together for all the children. Also, teachers and the administration must get out of this habit of 'punish and forget'.

And so the cycle continues.

And so the cycle continues. Until someone takes responsibility, out of control kids--in school--will escalate.

Children start out as a blank state, in their formative years, all they have to go on is the instruction and nurturing of the parent.

This parent (by the report is--apparently--single) is the most important influence in this child's life. Ergo, it is no stretch to lay the blame of that boy's poor behavior at her feet.

The "real" solution you suggest is missing from the criticism, left the station half a decade ago, when the mom decided to go it alone and have a child out of wedlock. That is just for starters. There are solutions, but in the end they're based on personal responsibility and no one--especially this mother--wants to hear that.

This young kid did not learn

This young kid did not learn proper respect at home and I'm willing to bet his parents are no better.

The story started with

The story started with sugar.In the 1950's corn became a mass produced product in the country. The corn spurned corn syrup (and corn-fed beef, which is another problem)and the corn syrup wound it's way into all the kids diets, from 70% sugar cereal to soda. This brings us up to the present, where many of our children are diagnosed with ADHD among other disorders, which have a nutritional component as well as a genetic component. If this charter school adhered to DOE rules, this 5 year old would be assessed for medical/psych problems. There would be special ed evaluations and perhaps a special aide assigned just to this child to assist in the child's school integration. Mother is quite right that child will be stigmatized for life as these school records will follow forever. And why, so some politician can make political hay and some of his friends can reel in some bucks.

Coincidence is not causality.

Coincidence is not causality. The rise in unruly children symptomatic of ADD & ADHD could as easily be blamed on too much television, rock and roll or the introduction of the personal computer. I'm not defending corn syrup/sugar/byproducts, but think there may be flaws in your rationale.


In this case, dollars to doughnuts, it was sub-par parenting that was at the root of this boy's behavior. That factor--I'm pretty sure--outstrips food products.

If Peninsula were a private

If Peninsula were a private school instead of one funded with our tax money they could do what they want. But public schools can't expel a child and will in fact most likely end up taking the young man. For charters to claim they are public but not adhere to the same rules as public schools is a farce

The child was not expelled

The child was not expelled arbitrarily. It is in the interest of the school and the folks running it to keep the students there. When I child, even one of 5 years--becomes a problem, he takes educational opportunity and valuable time away from other students having to deal with unwanted behavior.


The school's mandate is not have to deal with poor parenting, but rather educating the boy. By the looks of the story, the school made a principled and correct decision in expelling this boy. It will benefit the others in his class and the boy himself, if allowed to learn from it by the parent. Looks like this is not the case.


Using the euphemism "strong minded" to frame, unruly, poorly disciplined and violent, is laughable. Instead of pointing an index finger at the school, perhaps this parent should take note of the other three pointing back at her. The trouble this boy had started at home and can only be solved there, but by the tone of her response, that does not seem likely. Poor kid, the biggest hurdle to his educational growth is his own parent.

Sounds like this little young

Sounds like this little young man did not get the discipline he needed at home. Oh my son is just strong minded. No people, your son needs to learn what is good and bad behavior. The parents here must have been in the generation where there are no winners or losers.


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