Sunday, March 22, 2009

Allegations of assault upon a student have been levied on Derrick Townsend, assistant principal of PS 154 in the Bronx

Nothing better illustrates the double standard of how teachers and administrators are treated when it comes to charges of either physical or verbal abuse than the PS 154x story where people have been trying to tell the DOE about the actions of the school administration.

This story is very ironic in the light of my old teaching buddy Kathy Blythe about to "celebrate" her 2nd anniversay in the rubber room for sitting a child who tried to run out of the room in her seat (see (Tales From the Rubber Room: The Kathy Blythe Story,
Principal Parrots Leadership Academy Lingo...)

The principal incited the parent to call the cops and 5 showed up to arrest Kathy who was taken in hand cuffs from the school after 22 years of teaching there. Later, the cop in charge said it was all clearly bullshit. The backdrop was that kathy had run for chapter leader and lost by 1 vote, so this was clearly retaliation for union activity. The union did nothing, of course.

So compare what happened to Kathy and how AP Derrick Townshend has been treated. An Ed Notes stringer reports from the scene of the crime:

A 9 year old female student has charged that on February 13, 2009, Derrick Townsend had dragged her by the arm and leg for up to ten minutes leaving bruises and scratches on her arm. This came after the girl reported to Mr Townsend that a boy had roughed her up during recess. Originally Mr Townsend had called the girl a "drama queen" in front of the girl's third grade class and when the girl became upset Mr Townsend yanked her out of her chair, and a struggle ensued in the classroom and the hallway. Two teachers and up to fifty students witnessed the assault.

This assault was reported immediately to the Office of Special Investigation and Ms Irizarry, but since Ms Irizarry was in Florida at the time, Mr Townsend initially headed the investigation and collected all witness statements.

Linda Amill-Irizarry conducted a full investigation upon her return and found the assault upon the 9 year old girl unsubstantiated after an interview with witnesses. Later this was found to be incorrect since Ms Irizarry never interviewed any witnesses. Ms Irizarry later claimed that all witness statement appear to have been misplaced and that no further review is warranted.

This is not the first time this school year on in Mr Townsend's tenure as assistant principal at PS 154 that Mr Townsend has had allegations of assault at PS 154. It has been alleged that Mr Townsend dragged an 11 year old student approximately 150 feet and tore the boy's shirt in the process; dragged a special needs kindergarten student 40 feet in the hallway; pulled another boy by the arm when he refused to heed Mr Townsend's commands that he come with him, twisting the boy's arm in the process; and dragging another student in the school yard. As of the date when the girl was dragged OSI was still "looking into" these matters.

After FOX 5 News, Telemundo 47 News, News12 Bronx, and the New York Post reported the assault on the 9 year old girl, Mr Townsend is still assigned to PS 154.

The mother of the 9 year old girl was repeatedly rebuffed in her efforts to meet with Ms Irizarry and now has made a decision that criminal charges will be filed against Mr Townsend. These are expected to be filed early this week.


Chaz said...

I have brought the double standard issue for the last three years. However, our union seems to be unconcerned with it.

Anonymous said...

Maria Cavallo-Best, AP of PS 3 Staten Island, dragged a student from the his class. When father called and complained that his son was hurt. Best tried to lay the blame on two classroom teachers who did not have any physical contact with the student. Eventually Best owned up to her action. Want to know what happened to her? Nothing was done by the administration and OSI.

Anonymous said...

Same thing happened in my school when an AP hurt a child physically. Nothing happened and their were adult witnesses. However, when teachers say boo to a kid, verbal abuse charges will come flying out of nowhere.

Anonymous said...

That should say, "There were adult witnesses."

Anonymous said...

Where is Blythe's principal?

Anonymous said...

Rafaela Espinal left the system last summer to a great sigh of relief. She was replaced by another Leadership Acad Principal but this one gets high marks. Another teacher with an impeccable rep railroaded to the RR was released after Espinal left. Espinal was the devil and her husband worked for Bloomberg's company.

Anonymous said...

Derrick Townsend used to teach at PS 92 in Brooklyn. Is it possible that he committed acts of assault on children there as well?

Anonymous said...

Chaz - I have a question for you about investigations led by principals - is it true that no substantiated allegation led by a principal can result in termination?