Perdido 03

Perdido 03

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Bryant High School Confines "Crazy" Students To Outside Trailer That Functions Like A Jail Cell

I remember a time when Bryant High School was a decent school.

But then Bloomberg took over autocratic control of the school system and began his systematic plan to destroy all the large schools.

And that brought us stuff like this:
This school treats its most troubled students like trailer trash, whistleblowers say. 
The principal of William Cullen Bryant HS in Long Island City, Queens, has rounded up more than 20 failing kids with behavior problems — and put them in a trailer where they stay all day.
Principal Namita Dwarka calls the boxy, red trailer housing the confined misfits “the Scholars Academy.”

Teachers come to the trailer for English, math, science, history and other classes. Even lunch is brought in. If kids go into the cafeteria, they are not served, one told The Post. The only break is phys ed in the yard, when a teacher “rolls out the balls.”

“Most of the kids are not happy with the situation,” a staffer said.

Some “act crazy” during class, making it difficult to concentrate on work, one trailer student said. Others defiantly listen to music on headphones.

The trailer empties out as the day goes on. By the last two periods, “everybody leaves, nobody stays there,” the student said.

If he sticks it out, he’s the only one in the trailer besides the teacher. “She just sits there, looks at me, and waits for the bell to ring,” he said. A dean lets him sign in and leave.

The student’s mom was shocked to learn of the cooped-up conditions.

“I thought it was the regular school,” she said. “You might as well send them to Rikers Island.”
Teachers describe the trailer assignment as “challenging.”

“It’s a struggle to teach these kids,” one said. “They are not easy kids to deal with.”

Staffers said the trailer may get laptop computers so students can do online “credit recovery” to make up for failed classes.

Others say the isolation is not conducive to success.

“These are kids with a lot of ­issues,” said Gus Prentzas, president of the Bryant HS parents association. “To have them locked up in a space like this is unacceptable.”

Prentzas called the trailer — which looks “like a shipping container” — not only jail-like, but a potential health hazard.

Teachers have reported seeing mold in the trailer, which is air-conditioned and has a couple of small windows.

Officials said the trailer was inspected but no mold was found. Two other trailers hold classes that regular students ­attend for single periods.

The “Scholars Academy” “is designed to provide extra academic support in a safe and structured environment,” a DOE spokesperson said, adding that the program aims to help “over-aged, under-credited students” graduate.

“There is some relief in the building,” a staffer said. “These kids are no longer a problem in the halls or the classes they would have attended.”

Forcing students and teachers to spend short periods of time in these trailers is bad enough, considering the health hazards they pose.

But keeping these students in isolation in these trailers all day is, quite frankly, unconscionable.


  1. I am a proud alum of the great school. (Was a great school). I am disgusted to hear of all the fear tactics used by the principal dictator. Some of my friends children go here and I know they are repulsed by the sick behavior of this narcissist. I hope the proper ppl will do something about this despicable tyrant. This is not a healthy environment in which young ppl can grown and reach their full potential. So sad!

    1. It is time for you parents to write directly to the chancellor about the abusive behavior.

  2. She has pushed out 9 assistant principals, harassed assistant principals to change ratings on veteran teachers that have good statistics to reflect unsatisfactory performance. She has pushed out teachers that were good, she wants to control everything. She had done so many illegal things and she is still the principal.

  3. She has been investigated for grade changing and harassing teachers to pass students.

  4. The surveys agree that she has been very ineffective when dealing with her staff. She got one of the lowest grades as principal of the city,

  5. I hope the new chancellor gets rid of her, she is going after hard working veteran teachers that are well regarded by the students with good statistics.

  6. She has been investigated with age discrimination. She just removed a veteran teacher with good statistics, and that was regarded as good by her/his students. It is just insane.

  7. This is a person who is dishonest, lies in observations and manipulates data to get rid of veteran teachers. She is no good for the hard working staff of W.C. Bryant High School, nor for the students.

  8. We were denounce all the corruption that she has caused, so we need all the community involved.

  9. Dwarka Must Go Sept. 24 2014

    A copy of this letter was received at the Queens Gazette. Dear Schools Chancellor Carmen Farina:

    Where's the story?
    PointsMentioned Map16 Points Mentioned
    I understand that Superintendent Juan Mendez of District 30 is trying to stall a School Leadership Team (SLT) member’s request for hard copies and a specific explanation concerning Bryant H.S. Principal Namita Dwarka’s school credit card charges.

    Faculty, students and parents are still puzzled why Namita Dwarka is allowed to continue as principal at Bryant H.S. The Office of Special Investigation (OSI) has been flooded with complaints regarding grade changes, evaluation changes and retaliation towards whistle-blowers by Dwarka and yet nothing has been done.

    More than 200 students rallied and protested last school year, holding signs which read “Dwarka Must Go!”

    As a parent, I have also expressed my concern to the OSI.

    The saddest thing of all is that I was informed that a teacher needed to start taking medication to remain calm so that she could go to work and teach.

    Principal Dwarka has pushed many staff members out, but those that have chosen to stay are walking on eggshells fearing they are Dwarka’s next target.

    I must say I am very concerned that if quick action is not taken soon, someone will reach their breaking point.

    Dwarka continues to claim she is protected. My question is by whom and why?

    I will be attending the next City Council hearing, where I hope parents, such as myself, can get some answers to these questions. Thank You

    Gus Prentzas
    Concerned Parent

  10. This Principal has been investigated for many things, and she has created a very negative environment for experienced staff.

  11. Many veteran teachers with good statistics are her main targets, this is outrageous. Whose side are the investigators on? Some of the complaints ended up on her desk, the level of corruption is too much to take.

  12. She pushed so many experienced professionals out, that the statistics are starting to go down with the AP puppets.

  13. This new administration has produced the worse results ever in the regents exams.

  14. I'm a student, she is very rude and scary. When she walks in classroom teachers even seem scared and nervous. She is very rude tot hem as well as students. Our parents complain, teachers have even risked their jobs and complained with us and still we get no justice. Is it because we are a public school? We get no justice? Why do we deserve no results?

    1. She is pushing out all the experienced people, and the results for the regents are getting worse each year she is in power. She has destroyed the school.

  15. She is dishonest and a manipulator.

  16. It's a comedy of bad actors.


  17. As a result of the bad decisions of our leader the percentage for passing the regents for June 2014 is a complete disaster. A disaster for the AP puppets, and for our leader and mentor. Once more she continues in a collision course, although the graduation rate went up. Many teachers feel more pressure to pass students, eventually her bad policies are starting to have a negative impact on the school. Shame on you, you are the only one to blame for the disastrous results, but your punishment will come soon. We thank all the experienced and good professionals who got us off the Persistently Low Achieving list, but her bad policies may take us back there. Those of you who are silent are part of this mismanagement of Bryant.

  18. 200,000 dollars unaccounted, and the DOE keeps protecting her.

  19. NYCDOE Age Discrimination against Teachers and other DOE staff (Guidance Counselors, School Secretaries, Paraprofessionals) over 50 that are being pushed out to replace them with cheaper, inexperienced labor. They want a staff who will not question anything, that will blindly march to their orders and do it at a cheaper cost. They wish to eradicate every trace of the past. No matter how good you have been, it does not matter. Never late or absent too much in 30 years, doesn't matter. Attended every Parent/ Teacher Conference, doesn't matter. What matters is if you are at top salary, you are a liability. Newer Leadership bosses who have the nerve to call themselves CEOs treat classrooms as stockrooms and students as inventory. They will now come into your room, rattles your nerves all to plant the seed that your retirement date is coming soon and maybe you should be thinking about that option; and in the meantime we will encourage you to take that option, BIG TIME. Do not mind us we will come into your room first period Monday or last period Friday or even any days in between. We will write and write and take notes. Lesson Plan, Great, we don't care, we'll find something to label you ineffective. We'll break your confidence in yourself, we'll make it so hard for you that you want to start using your sick days. Why? You are too damn expensive, I can get two teachers for what you cost me. You’ll eventually get it, that it is easier for you to put in your papers then stay here. So, are you now on the endangered species list? Yes you most certainly are. Is there anything you can do about it asides from the UFT who will stay silently in the background and say “ C’mon you did your time, enjoy your life, retire”.

  20. How long will all these investigations go on before she is terminated?

  21. Once again the Principal of William Cullen Bryant high school has found herself in hot water. This time its about a missing $195 thousand dollars that was collected for gym uniforms, locks, and food. Apparently a DOE investigation found no receipts for the money allegedly spent. However, the DOE has failed, once again, to discipline and remove the infamous "Leadership Academy Principal" Namita Dwarka. Moreover, a veteran physical education teacher, Peter Maliarakis has claimed that money raised with the sale of the uniforms and locks that should have been allocated to upgrade the gym and to buy new gym equipment was not used for those purposes. The New York Post article can be found Here.

    Namita Dwarka has been in trouble before but yet the DOE has failed to act. Last year there was the Regents cheating scandal where the school administration falsely labeled English speaking students as ESL, to give them extra time and higher grades on the Regents.

    Earlier in the month 200 students, parents, and teachers protested outside the school against the Principal and her policies that shortchanged special education students and eliminated academic programs. She allegedly was accused of threatening students who joined the protest in not being allowed to attend their graduation ceremony. Again, the DOE refused to take any action.

    Then there was the allegation of the Principal changing grades to raise her graduation rate. However, the DOE failed to take action against Namita Dwarka, despite the many students and teachers willing to testify to the grade changing.

    She has shown her vicious side too by retaliating against staff and students who dare stand up to her. Here is a letter that was sent to Mayor Bill de Blasio, Chancellor Carmen Farina, and the Queens Gazette outlining the issues. Finally, she has a terrible reputation with the ATRs as she refuses to hire veteran ATRs and has been accused to have placed uncertified teachers in rather than select a veteran certified teacher for some hard to staff subjects.

    This is just another case of the DOE "double standard" in protecting bad principals while going after teachers, despite the change at the top.

  22. The United Federation of Teachers has long been perceived as a powerful union in New York City. So, why would so many of its members find themselves in need of legal representation when they find themselves unfairly targeted by an unethical principal when members pay so much in dues?

    This is the question many teachers are asking. So many of us are being harassed, abused and even brought up on false charges. In the age of “accountability,” the only accountable people seem to be teachers. Administrators do not need to account for anything, even abusing their employees. Teachers will call on their chapter leader and district reps only to be given false information. The UFT does NOT want members to know their rights. Why?


    When teachers find themselves unfairly targeted by their principal, even after an excellent career, there is very little they can do. Their only course of action is to get an attorney. Expensive veteran teachers are encouraged by their union representatives to retire. Whether they are financially able or not is irrelevant. Untenured teachers are told to just resign and move on to other careers. It doesn’t matter if the accusations against the teacher are founded or not. If the principal decides you are the target, you have no chance. If that principal wants to lie, manipulate, use other teachers against a particular teacher, there is nothing the UFT will do about it.

    That’s the little secret the UFT doesn’t want to get out: they are powerless and they don’t want members to know.

  23. While she pushes hard working people out, she also mismanages the money

    Bryant Parents, Teachers Demand Answers On Missing Funds


    Teachers and parents of students at William Cullen Bryant High School are demanding answers from officials and Department of Education (DOE) officials – an accounting of almost $200,000 collected from students to support phys ed and student activities at the Astoria school.

    Local leader and former Bryant Parents Association president Gus Prentzas said he and physical education teacher Peter Maliarakis last year sent a letter to th city Department of Investigation and DOE seeking answers about the missing funds.

    Where's the story?
    PointsMentioned Map2 Points Mentioned
    Prentzas said the money comes from items purchased at the Bryant Student Union store, where students buy food, drinks, gym uniforms and other “authentic” school gear. The funds are supposed to pay for phys ed equipment, repairs to the school gymnasium and school activities, Prentzas said.

    After a year went by without a response to their letters, Prentzas and Maliarakis reached out to the office of the Regional Superintendent for help, Prentzas said. “Still, no one has come up with any answers,” he said.

    Maliarakis said he sent an email to Mayor Bill deBlasio and Schools Chancellor Carmen Farina and other officials in September 2014, telling them he had just two basketballs for use by 150 students in his three bale gym classes at the school.

    Maliarakis said in his email that the two tattered basketballs are “at least” 10-to-15-years-old and they are “falling apart at the seams.”

    On the following day, an assistant principal walked into the gym and handed over seven new basketballs to Maliarakis, he said. “But they were all girl-size basketballs. They’re smaller ad lighter than basketballs used by the boys,” making them useless as replacements he requested in the email, Maliarakis said.

    Prentzas said he sent an email last September to school officials, United Federation of Teachers (UFT) officials and school network officials demanding an accounting of the missing funds. “I asked them to show us what happened to the money, to show us deposit slips, receipts – anything,” Prentzas said. “ I asked them how and when the funds were used to support th physical education department.”

    Prentzas said he has yet to receive a response on the whereabouts of the missing funds.

    Prnetzas also spoke up at a September 19, 014 meeting of the School Leadership Team (SLT) about “thousands of dollars” in charges that had accumulated on a school credit card used by Bryant principal Namita Dwarka, including “$500 dinner charges.”

    Prentzas said he questioned th4 charges again in a recent email to deBlasio an Farina, after SLT officials failed to respond to his original request.

    “I’m not demanding answers just for myself,” Prentzas said. “I want answers for other parents, teachers and for students who want to know how the credit card funds are being spent. What dinners” With whom, and why?” Prentzas said.

    Prentzas said he and Maliarakis filed a Freedom of Informaion request last year demanding an accounting of the missing Student Union funds. DOE officials responded, saying they were unable to find receipts for student purchases at the school store from 2011 to 2013 – and had only found several receipts from 2014, Prentzas said.

    A DOE spokesperson this week said the agency is investigating the matter to determine exactly what happened to the money.

    Will we ever get an answer? I hope so, but I doubt it,” Prentzas said. “Just like in the past, they’ll sweep it under the carpet and never give us an answer. No one will ever be held accountable.”

  24. Her nonsense and abusive behavior is going to cost thousands of dollars to the city, she should pay for the damage she has caused.

  25. What is the UFT doing? Nothing
    What are the investigators doing? Covering up corruption
    What is the Chancellor doing? Nothing

  26. An organization that ignores the input of its members, it's an organization doomed to fail.

  27. Some of us are questioning all these investigations, can we trust the investigators?

  28. I am also a whistleblower and have enjoyed every second of it. I became a teacher to help students not hurt them. If we continue to come forward , we can start to neutralize the corruot DOE,UFT,OSI and SCI organizations. Everyone is in on this as you had mentioned. So quicker we educate our colleagues , the quicker we build a coalition to stop this destruction of the education system. Farina is not looking to put a halt on what is really going on. She is playing the game like change is coming, but at this pace she will be far out of office before anything substantial gets done. DOE your corruption will continue to get exposed and the embarrassment will spiral out of control. Continue programing everyone from top to bottom to destroy in order to protect their jobs. Great business model you crooks! We will fight corruption, abusiveness and incompetence from our administrators.

  29. The question is why does the DOE and the UFT allow our NYC Public School students to be exposed to uncertified teachers instructing in subject areas that they have no business teaching in? The answer its the DOE's "education on the cheap" policy. That's right, if you think its about what's best for the students, than you probably believe in the tooth fairy, the Easter Bunny, and yes, Santa Claus. The truth is that the DOE imposed a destructive budgeting practice on the schools that's called "fair student funding" that forces principals to hire the "cheapest and not the best teachers" for their school. Add that to the 14% budget cut since 2008 and the rise of the "Leadership Academy Principals", with little actual classroom experience and you have a receipt for educational disaster. I have written about this travesty previously and it can be found Here. Finally, many schools try to save money by assigning phantom teachers to courses and force the unfortunate students to take an online or blended learning course.

  30. This administration has lost 50,000 in computer equipment, they are just incompetent

  31. They are so corrupt but they are protected.

  32. A school aide hired to fix the school's technology was ILLEGALLY TEACHING a mouse squad class and was caught having a SEXUAL AFFAIR with one of the male students... And Carmen "it's a wonderful day" Farina the corrupt head of the DOE is still paying this Principal Dwarka $145, 000 to run the school into the ground.

  33. That school aide was teaching a class that one of the APs suppose to teach, shame on the administration. Too bad the corrupt investigators are going to exonerate them like always despite very strong statements from students.