In a shocking exposé, it was revealed that PS 106 in Far Rockaway, Queens, is New York City’s worst school. Students are reportedly left without books for reading, writing, and math, and they spend most of their days watching movies. There aren’t reportedly any gym, music, or art classes either. Learning disabled children don’t have teachers who have been trained in special education, and the kindergartners also do not have specific classrooms, they just “sit all day in dilapidated trailers that reek of animal urine, [where] rats and squirrels noisily scamper in the walls and ceiling.”
The school principal, Marcella Sills, who has been the principal at PS 106 for nine years, has been said to be a frequent no-show, and when she does go to work, she reportedly never gets there earlier than 11 a.m. According to the New York Post, at the time of the article, they found her at her Westbury, Long Island, home on a Wednesday, and she did not leave until 2:50 p.m.
During her absences, the school is left to the assistant principal, while Sills still collects her full salary — $128,207 — plus overtime pay.
Hurricane Sandy caused a lot of damage to the school, but major repairs have yet to be fixed, and teachers haven’t reportedly gotten any curricula since then. In fact, they reportedly find assignments and worksheets online and print them out using their own paper.
Because the school is in a low-income area, it is allocated $2.9 million plus extra funding, but no one has seen where the money is going.
Sources say school staff won’t bring up their grievances to their unions for fear Sills will “retaliate.” Parents have also expressed concern for the school’s conditions and absentee principal.
In a panel discussion, Dr. Steve Perry, George E. Curry, Paris Dennard, Rep. Bennie Thompson, and Moe Elleithee discuss the lack of involvement in this disturbing school case.
“The principal is part of the problem,” said Thompson, “but the oversight all the way up the line is not just the people who go there every day, but it’s the people who are responsible for maintaining the educational system. It’s failing the children, and so I wonder, where is the PTA? Where [are] the local and civic organizations? There are a lot of things in the community that should be brought to bear to look at this, but clearly it should not just stop at the principal.”
“Most parents, regardless of their hue or economic status, tend to believe the school when they send your child home with an ‘A,’ you tend to believe it’s an ‘A,'” said Dr. Perry. “The school only has  kids in it, which means, in large part, that many parents have left.
“The real problem is they have no options,” he continued. ” We keep allowing the teacher’s union to dictate what matters to us. We’re allowing them to tell us that the parents are not involved. These parents are leaving and the more important thing is that the school gets the same amount of money as the most-successful schools in the state and more money than the charter schools, so the parents have been begging for choice, they’ve been fighting for choice. They will leave or lie about where they live in order to get choice, and we force them in to failed schools, and we blame them for being a failed school.
Watch the entire panel discussion below:
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