Monday, December 8, 2014

PS 399K Principal Marion Brown Accused of Running School With Concentration Camp Mentality

A concentration camp and a slave plantation: this is how PS 399 the elementary school where Marion Brown is the principal has been described.

This principal is a master at using fear and intimidation to strip teachers of their self-confidence, harasses them until they are mentally and physical ill and in some cases has been the catalyst that caused them to forfeit their chief means of making a living. Witnessing these results, most teachers are reluctant to take any action that will direct her reign of terror on them. And those who have the audacity to speak out and take action are assured of receiving an ineffective/developing rating.

One of the most infamous examples of her successful reign of terror is that of a teacher who after being harassed constantly (and who was actually told that she would be given a hard time if she returned last school year) decided to take some time off because she was so mentally stressed. Alas, when the teacher returned, the harassment ensued again with even more vigor causing the teacher to resign two months before the school year ended.

Using divide and conquer and the teacher evaluation process, this principal is continuing to wreak havoc with both teachers’ and students’ growth and development. This madness will only end when the teachers and parents find the courage to speak up, stand up and get the principal out!


10 comments:

  1. This sounds sadly similar to the situation going on at PS 90, District 21 in Brooklyn-Greta Hawkins. How can this be good for the kids and -Why is this allowed to continue?

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  2. Wow, I really thought that things would be different under our new Mayor and Chancellor.

    Guess not.

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  3. Not only is the Principal at PS399 . The Assistant Principal is worst.

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    1. That's so true. The teachers are all miserable and afraid to say anything. The parents who are not afraid need to get the Board of Ed involved. I know some parents do not want to say anything because of fear. This is going on too long and we cannot afford to loose good teachers. There are so many teachers leaving the profession due to Principals like this.

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  4. I am related to one of those teachers that managed to escape off that “plantation.” This teacher has years of experience under her belt and really just had a hard time adjusting to the open classroom challenges and that wicked administrative style. She loved her colleagues but found out that there is no support from that principal and AP. They are two soulless bullies who will attack people they know have preexisting medical issues. They are very unprofessional and will find your weakness and exploit it. The things that they say to teachers should be criminal and outlawed. People who put the time and effort into building a life career should not be punished because they salaries might be a little higher than most. The Board of Education and the chancellor need to take the time to look at the school report card they would see that teachers are being abused plain and simple. Even though my family member has moved on and is productive and effective where she is, she still doesn’t want to get involved because she is traumatized by the experience. Teaching used to be a sacred profession but now you are forced to choose between your job and your health, or even your life. All of those people who were forced out should get together and file a lawsuit. These two women must be stopped.

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  5. I love PS399 and I love the teachers. They are dedicated and care about my child and the others in the school. They are always in that building. The principal and the AP are rude and condescending. They have their people that they cater to. I stand in the back of the morning assembly because I had to go downtown to report her a few years back and I don’t want my child to become a target. I heard that she has a history of retaliation as far back as when she was a principal in middle school. I don’t get involved but I have eyes and I can see that the teachers look like someone died. My child was in the third grade last year and I know he didn’t get what he need because his teacher was the one who was forced out. He was promoted to fourth grade with level ones. What I would like to know is how come my child didn’t go to summer school? Can someone answer that question? I’m glad someone had the guts to speak out. I wish more people would stop whispering and speak out for their children. I am speaking up for my child because if we don’t say anything then more teachers are going to leave.

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    1. Not only didn't your child receive the support he /she should have received in summer school, neither did any of the third grade students. The principal stated early on that she, neither her AP would be working in summer school. Instead, she and her newly appointed AP (who wasn't even appointed at the time) would be focusing their efforts on the 2014-2105 school year.

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  6. From the files of “Straight Outta Compton,” rouge Assistant Principal, Michele Hogan has stepped up her rule of tyranny against teachers and taken her perfectly honed skills as a bully, to the parents. The parent of a one sick child was late picking up her other daughter at dismissal. Mrs. Hogan, who is highly regarded by her principal and the district superintendant for her ability to “step to the teachers” in the building, had no trouble transferring those skills to this particular situation, and while using very colorful language, before an audience of staff, parents, and students offered to take the show to the street. School safety and the acting principal had to intervene to diffuse the situation, as Mrs. Hogan was determined to show this parent, who dared to call her out of her name, that she was indeed the boss. It didn’t matter that this parent happened to be pushing the sick infant in a stroller and holding the hand of the student at the time of the incident.
    Since Mrs. Hogan’s arrival, there has been a noticeable shift in the culture at P.S. 399. The focus is no longer on student achievement and safety but on maintaining the power base of the administrative team. Ms. Brown, who has been out on extended sick leave, left her recuperative bed to attend a parent meeting with parents to “defend” Mrs. Hogan. She maintains that in all of her entire teaching career, she has never had such an effective assistant, one capable of running the school exactly as she would in her absence. She blames the parents’ inability to warm up to Mrs. Hogan on the “unhealthy friendships” between the parents and teachers in the building. Whoever heard of such a thing? Most administrative would welcome collaboration between parents and teachers. Parents, teachers, and administrators should all be working together in an atmosphere of respect to do what is best for children, not what will maintain the administration’s power base. In P.S. 399, it’s “divide, conquer, and discard.”
    The irony of this situation is that in the months leading up to this incident, there was relative peace and tranquility in the building that has not existed in the past three years due to both Mrs. Hogan and Ms. Brown being out on extended sick leave. The acting principal has received accolades for her attempts at consensus building and trying to bring teachers, parents, support staff, and administration to the table and elicit everyone’s help in trying to return the school to its former glory, memories that every day are becoming more and more of a distant memory. Several teachers – seasoned and novices have unceremoniously left or been driven away in the past three years. The Department of Education and the United Federation of Teachers are all complicit because they are aware of the situation that has been brewing in P.S. 399 for a number of years. They have the data – the drop in the attendance and they have the school report card which is online and a matter of public record. Perhaps they are waiting for a student to be assaulted by this administrator, who clearly does not have the right temperament for the job and has never been a good fit for the culture at P.S. 399. Or perhaps they would like to close this school and convert it into administrative offices. Who knows? One thing is certain. The needs of the students in this community are not being met.

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  8. I’m saddened by this escalation of events but I can’t say I didn’t see this coming. Just a matter of time. I was one of the parents who jumped ship and removed my daughter from Chaosville. It was not an easy decision for me to make because I really love and respect many of the teachers at PS 399 and my children were very well served while they were there for a long time. I tried to be a part of the solution but was rebuffed at every turn; I was singled out and labeled a trouble maker. My older daughter had so many different classroom teachers in her 4th and 5th grade years that I literally lost count. I approached Ms. Brown several times but her specialty is cutting people off midsentence and rephrasing what you’ve said, and redirecting the discourse so that her agenda is promoted. It’s impossible to have a respectful conversation with them.
    In my quest to get to the bottom of the declining morale in the school, I actually interviewed a number of current and former teachers who agreed to speak with me “off the record.” I was deeply disturbed by the level of harassment that was perpetuated by the administration against the staff. Those teachers work 12 hour days regularly and many on Saturdays. There was a genuine fear of reprisal among the teachers and I later discovered the parent body; that’s the reason it’s difficult to get any kind of action going. I have taken several leadership courses myself and I know that you don’t run an institution of education with a plantation mentality. In the end I decided to do what was in the best interest of my child when she told me that her school is “not a happy place.” I’m saddened to see what the school has come to and I hope that this exposure will bring about some meaningful change. Thanks to the person who was brave enough to shine a light on atrocities in a school that used to be a really great institution of learning.

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