Written and edited by Norm Scott:
EDUCATE! ORGANIZE!! MOBILIZE!!!
Three pillars of The Resistance – providing information on current ed issues, organizing activities around fighting for public education in NYC and beyond and exposing the motives behind the education deformers. We link up with bands of resisters. Nothing will change unless WE ALL GET INVOLVED IN THE STRUGGLE!
Arthur has been on the case on the Forest Hills HS drama -- keeping it up front - and we know that this is a way to keep the UFT leadership's feet to the fire -- and the DOE too - they don't act until there's public exposure. One thing we know - even if Sherman is removed he will find a safe haven in the DOE bureaucracy and might emerge one day to run another school when memories fade.
Chancellor Carranza iscommitted to providing students and staff at Forest Hills High School the resources and support they need to succeed. The Chancellor and I have heard you clearly, and want you to know that we are working with the entire school community tobuild a strong and supportive environment.
Effective immediately, Dr. Sean Davenport will serve as supervising superintendentuntil further notice, overseeing daily operations at Forest Hills High School. Forest Hills Principal Benjamin Sherman will report directly to Dr. Davenport, who will report directly to me. Dr. Davenport is a proven leader with over a decade of experience as principal, and I know he will be a strong partner who will work closely with students, staff and families.
As your Executive Superintendent, I will work with Dr. Davenport and Mr. Sherman to ensure that Forest Hillsis living up to the highest standards of excellence and achievement.
Dr. Davenport and I will be on campus Monday at Forest Hills High School to meet with staff.As always, feel free to contact myself or my team with any additional questions.
Dr. Andre Spencer
A comment [edited]: You can quote me as a history teacher.
Why are they keeping this man on? The fact that he needs one-on-one supervision speaks to his incompetence. How can the faculty agree to serve under a man who has credible allegations of lewd, sexual behavior with students and staff? The only way to return to our former high status is with a change at the top.
Article in The Chief
Forest Hills Too High? Teachers Say Principal Lets School Go to Pot
Teachers at Forest Hills High School are ramping up their efforts to remove Principal Ben Sherman, who they say eliminated adult supervision from hallways and bathrooms, resulting in students openly using drugs inside the building.
According to several reports, students frequently smoked marijuana in school bathrooms and stairwells, which Mr. Sherman allegedly turned a blind eye to because the drug was going to be made legal soon. Students cut classes, and got into fights in the unattended bathrooms, staff claimed.
Adam Bergstein, who has been the United Federation of Teachers chapter leader at the school for seven years, said that the key factor that changed the school’s culture was Mr. Sherman’s decision to remove aides who monitored the bathrooms and reduce the number of deans patrolling the halls.
“Leaving those areas unattended is a recipe for disaster,” he said during a phone interview. He added that the Principal also got rid of clubs and activities that kept students occupied during the school day.
The educators began voicing their concerns a year ago but it was in vain, he noted, and tensions peaked when Teachers and other staff voted “no confidence” in Mr. Sherman Feb. 14. The 195-21 vote was sparked by the employees’ worries that the building wasn’t safe.
“Staff had been so fed up, they felt they needed to do something that would draw attention to the situation,” said Mr. Bergstein. “They were sick and tired of seeing the school dismantled.”
In a newsletter to students and staff, Mr. Sherman said he would listen to the schools’ Teachers, who he called “the experts at working with our students,” and promised not to make statements such as “because I am the Principal” again.
Working on It
A Department of Education spokesman said that following the reports, the district’s Superintendent Juan Mendez visited the school and that the UFT, Council of School Supervisors and Administrators and Mr. Mendez met Feb. 25 to develop a plan to address the Teachers’ concerns.
The New York Post reported that after students’ school-smoking sessions received media attention, additional School Safety Agents were brought in and metal detectors were installed Feb. 26. The DOE claimed that the beefed-up security was for an unrelated incident. A Police Department spokeswoman said the unannounced scanning was spurred by a non-school related incident that occurred a day earlier.
Students who get caught with marijuana on school grounds are issued a warning card, an initiative started by the de Blasio administration in 2015. Previously, teens caught with the drug were given a summons.
Mr. Bergstein said that Teachers have been reaching out to students and parents to join their campaign to restore order to the school, which has a 91-percent graduation rate and is a popular choice for Queens’ high school students.
“We’re trying to exert pressure to remove him,” he said. “The staff unilaterally wants him gone.”