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Teachers accuse Bronx principal of a "reign of terror"

The flier advertising today's rally.
The flier advertising today's rally.

Teachers at the Fordham High School of the Arts plan to rally today in protest of their principal, who they say has conducted a “reign of terror” that is partly responsible for a 70% teacher turnover rate. Teachers from across the Bronx are invited to join the Fordham protest, which is being billed as a larger statement against what teachers call Chancellor Joel Klein’s “support of abusive principals.”

I don’t know any of the context here. It seems like a case where it’s impossible, without a lot more reporting, to know which side to believe — but very clear that the school environment is not a peaceful and happy one.

A Department of Education official, speaking on background today, said the protest is likely linked to an incident earlier this month where a teacher was removed from the school after an investigation tied her to a threatening letter written to the principal. A poster advertising the rally declares that teachers are protesting the “unfounded removal” of a teacher. The DOE source said the letter is being investigated by the police.

The teachers organizing the protest said in a memo that the principal’s misconduct stretches back through her five years at the school. They accuse her of unfairly sending teachers to the so-called rubber room and behaving in a way — yelling, screaming, belittling — that has caused many teachers to leave the school each year since her arrival.

Ann Forte, a spokeswoman for the Department of Education, said school officials do not plan to take action against the principal. “While we take complaints and allegations seriously, we don’t believe there is reason to remove the principal,” she said.

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