New York City Public Schools Chancellor Dennis Walcott’s review of previous abuse cases in his schools has resulted in the dismissal of eight more people, four aides and four tenured teachers.
Schools Chancellor Dennis Walcott ordered the reexamination of cases dating back to 2000 after two school workers with histories of inappropriate behavior were arrested in February.
“Since that time, we have removed eight individuals whose past behavior is totally unacceptable for an employee of New York City public schools, and I promise to make sure they never work here again,” said Walcott.
The offenses committed by these individuals had previously only gotten them reprimanded or briefly suspended. Tenured offenders include Jonathan Polayes who has been probed three times over the last 18 years after complaints he commented on girls’ breasts and hugged or tickled them. Reynold Batson pointed a video camera at boys who were urinating in a bathroom. Delroy Giscombe ogled breasts and behinds under the pretence of ‘inspecting outfits’.
Parents are understandably frustrated and angry:
“I’m disgusted and I feel betrayed,” said Erica Perez, a stay-at-home mom from East New York whose son and daughter both took science classes from Batson at PS 345.
While the four aides have been immediately fired, the tenured teachers will still draw paychecks as the city goes through the long process of their termination. City officials have commented again on the arduousness of this procedure, even when sufficient evidence of gross misconduct exists, remarking that they tried to fire Polayes previously but it was reduced to suspension on arbitration.
“I believe we need common-sense reform so that we – not an independent arbitrator – have the authority to fire tenured staff who engage in this type of behavior,” Walcott said.
Walcott will be launching a new resource in the next few weeks designed to help administrators make better informed hiring decisions by improving their ability to conduct background checks.
The eight employees reassigned or fired from their jobs worked at IS 285 in Brooklyn, PS 345 in Brooklyn, Baruch College Campus High School in Manhattan, A. Philip Randolph High School in Manhattan, Humanities and Arts Magnet High School in Queens, Port Richmond High School in Staten Island, JHS 13 in Manhattan, and PS 96 in Manhattan.
Education Department officials are forming a task force to further examine the problem of sex abuse in schools, make sure other previous complaints were properly dealt with and better handle future incidents so parents don’t have to worry about their children being stuck with perverts for their entire education period.