Monday, April 17, 2017
Bad Teacher? Maybe. Bad School? Absolutely!
Over the last couple of months a 25 year veteran teacher was accused of corporal punishment and ended up being arrested and getting a 30-day jail sentence for shoving a 7-year old child that didn't result in any physical injuries to the child and wasn't reported for a month. While the teacher has had letters of reprimand for previous corporal punishment and verbal abuse, none rose to the level of a 3020-a termination hearing, least not being arrested for. In 2013, the teacher was accessed previously of a serious corporal punishment incident. However, the charge was found to be unsubstantiated and dismissed. All the rest were minor and simply resulted in a letter of reprimand at worst.
The real story begins with the elementary school itself PS 194, Countee Cullen in Harlem between 2008 and 2012 there were 200 reported violent incidents and six sex offenses and this is an elementary school! Moreover, the Principal during that time had a habit of not reporting incidents and coming in late you can read it Here. You can also see the YouTube video Here.
Things have not improved under the new Principal as the high poverty and 95% Black and Hispanic student body still struggles academically and teachers gave the Principal an 18% trust factor, one of the lowest in the City . Moreover, only 24% think the Principal clearly communicates her vision. Finally, the Math and English scores remain in single digits of 9% and 7% respectively, again, one of the lowest in the City as the school has been among the list of violent schools. You can see the school's snapshot Here. This is what the teacher said of his school
“PS 194 has been a constant member of the most dangerous schools — it is a school where we have a lot of students with real problems that are not addressed,“ Couey had said.
In fact, the other teachers agree with him, according to the school's snapshot only 7% of the teachers feel the students are safe in the school while the City average is 94%!
When it comes to the child in question, you can read a slightly more informative take by the New York Post. Obviously, the child has serious behavioral issues that were not adequately addressed by the school administration. Like how does a school allow a 7-year old child to run the hallways unattended during class time? Where did he go without permission and why wasn't he disciplined by an administrator? Why didn't the teacher have a co-teacher in a classroom with Special Education students as required by law? If the child was diagnosed with ADHD and autism, as the Daily News article stated, what services, if any, did the school supply to the child?
The teacher spent his entire 25-year career at the academically struggling and dangerous school and stayed when other teachers left for better schools and more respect and he was rewarded for his loyalty to the school with not only an arrest and a 30 day jail sentence but a 3020-a charge to terminate his employment. Just because he tried to discipline a misbehaving student because nobody else wanted to bother with the child.
Is he a bad teacher? Maybe to some people who don't understand what's its like to teach in such a hostile and chaotic environment without administrative support and where a single slip up can cost a teacher their job. You can make your own decision on that. However, is PS 194 a bad school? No question about it. Absolutely it is.