Perdido 03

Perdido 03

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

How Many Abusive And/Or Insane Principals Are Out There?

A good point raised by James Eterno over at IceUFT blog in response to this Daily News story about hundreds of students, parents and teachers demanding the removal of a Bryant High School principal who is said to have doctored performance records of teachers, altered grading policies at the school to increase the graduation rate, ignored special needs students, and retaliated against teachers who spoke against her policies by canceling after school programs or removing them as coaches:

I am fairly certain there are stories like this one in many schools across NYC.  Let's see if this type of event is repeated elsewhere.

One of the teachers at the school told the Daily News the following:

“This is the end of my 30th year teaching here. No principal has ever treated staff like garbage like this one does,” said teacher Mary Bozoyan, 51, who attended the high school herself. “Everyone’s waiting for the next ax to drop on their head.”

A commenter at the DN responded to Mary Bozoyan's statement:

Mary Bozoyan was my math teacher years ago. Wonderful teacher who genuinely cared for the student. If the situation got to her, it must be really bad. I hope the students, parents, and teachers will continue to make their voices heard. 

Earlier in the school year, the NY Post reported that the Bryant High School principal had created a mini-jail outside of the school for students who were considered behavior problems:

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.”

During the Bloomberg/Klein/Walcott Era, the NYCDOE sought to make as many principals as possible into school autocrats who led their school communities with an iron fist and pushed through whatever policies they wanted while retaliating against anybody who stood in their way.

This Bryant High School principal is a prime example of that movement to turn schools into autocracies.

But she isn't the only one out there and while we keep hearing so much about incompetent teachers, ineffective teachers, criminal teachers, we here so little about incompetent, ineffective, criminal, abusive and/or insane administrators and principals.

The reason is, the DOE likes it when these kinds of autocrats are in charge of running schools.

They want everybody in FEAR, from the teachers to the students, that the orders of the Little Autocrat in the principal's office must be followed or there will be hell to pay.

And they back these Little Autocrats up, even in egregious cases like the Bryant High School case where the Little Autocrat has built a Rikers Island jail for students right outside the school.

Chancellor Farina said in January that she wants to bring joy back to schools as part of her NYCDOE policies.

She can start by clipping the wings of Little Autocrats like the Bryant High School autocrat, who clearly thinks she can treat students and staff like trash, engage in unethical and perhaps even criminal behavior with impunity, and run roughshod over everybody without worrying about any accountability for her behavior.


  1. We should start a site to document and publicize this which i think is an epidemic of bullying citywide

  2. This site exists already:

    Yes, there are many such principals. I know of one in Elmhurst, Queens. I believe that teachers are so afraid of her that they would be reticent to post. Parents have complained to the DOE to no avail. If she perceives that you have crossed her in some way, she will go after you with a vengeance.

    Sound like anyone YOU know?

    1. DTOE's site is terrific. I've filled it out for several "bad apple" admins I've encountered. You can use a pseudonym to report-- just make sure your email account works. The DTOE staff is fantastic and they are led by several educators who are making names for themselves-- Francesco Portelos and Lydia H[forgot her name] fighting the DOE and bully admins.

  3. Bottom Line: There are too many schools. The Bloomberg admin made a huge mistake by creating these hundreds and hundreds of schools. With these schools, you actually need a principal for each (obviously). There just aren't as many qualified people as there are schools. You think the 580+ high schools have perfect, leaders in place? If 90% are good leaders, that means 58 buildings are being managed by MORONS!

    1. Great point - all the witch hunts for "bad" teachers, but what about all these "bad" principals that Bloomberg hired when he created so many "new" schools?

    2. In Bryant High School the principal is fabricating Us for teachers with integrity.

  4. TeachmyclassMrMayor(andyoutooMrMulgrew)June 17, 2014 at 9:42 PM

    How many administrators get fired? They get a wrist slap, told to hide out, and eventually get a transfer to a different office and never be in danger of losing your job. And this story in no way tells of what really goes on in that building.

  5. TeachmyclassMrMayor(andyoutooMrMulgrew)June 17, 2014 at 9:43 PM

    It is far worse than the story says.

  6. She targets veteran teachers with integrity, she has pushed out 8 assistant principals after forcing them to rate certain teachers unsatisfactory. She got rid of good teachers, blamed another competent teacher for a bus accident. Harasses teachers that get sick, and the UFT looks the other way.

  7. This particular principal can go on the list... There is a whole internet paper trail on this person..

    1. Document this principal's misconduct on this form:

      You'll be kept anonymous.

      DTOE's website is

  8. This principal has psychological problems, she just cannot work with anybody.

  9. She goes after veteran teachers with good statistics, and harasses them to the límit. She makes constantly age discrimination remarks, and the DOE is aware of her behavior. Mismanagement of resources and constant abuse to the staff to the point that she lies in observations.

  10. She lies, uses people to go after people, this is totally the opposite of a supportive environment. Teachers do not trust her, and she does not communicate well with anybody.
    Why have they kept her for more than 3 years now?
    How long will the numerous investigations take place until someone makes a decision?

  11. Ms. Dwarka has harassed, discriminated and abused veteran teachers who do not show loyalty. She surrounds herself with puppets just to go after teachers with integrity, those in her circle are immune of any wrong doing, but those who question here are persecuted, rated U, and harassed. It is not a school, it is a Taliban.

  12. She has lost 2 cases in a 3020A hearing, she is an embarrassment for our school, and a liability for the DOE. But she continues to abuse and retaliate against veteran employees. The EEOO is ready to investigate her again

  13. She is totally out of control, she only pushes intelligent people out while she surrounds herself with puppets.

  14. She reagards many veteran teachers as incompetents, despite that many of them have very good statistics and had contributed to the school´s succés.


  16. Rally in support of William Cullen Bryant HS
    Thursday, March 26, 2015
    3:30 – 6:00 PM
    48-10 31st Ave
    LIC, NY

    Principal Namita Dwarka is an abusive administrator, and she must go!

  17. We may stand alone, or with a thousand other people, but on Thursday March 26, 2015, we stood for something. We were there to support the students and staff of William Bryant HS and push for the removal of Principal Namita Dwarka.

    William Bryant HS Rally - UFT Solidarity / New Action
    William Bryant HS Rally – UFT Solidarity / New Action

    Despite unfavorable weather and lack of support from the UFT Queens Office’s Rona Freiser, James Vasquez and UFT Central, we stood tall and spoke to many parents, students and some staff. Principal Namita Dwarka has made sure to get rid of tenured teachers and leave mostly nontenured

    “Wait, hold up. Can I put this on Instagram?” one student from a group asked.


    “That’s how we organized our student walk-out last time.”

    Imagine that. Students using social media to organize a walk-out in protest of the Principal that de Blasio Carmen Farina continues to protect.

    We distributed the below flyer to parents, students and staff walking in and out of Parent Teacher Conferences.

    Community Rally for William Bryant Day Of Flyer
    Community Rally for William Bryant Day Of Flyer

    “I’m all down with that!” one parent exclaimed as she walked by and saw our signs. “Let me get one of those flyers.”

    More statements from the students:

    “She cut programs. We used to have more variety.”

    “I graduated last year, but called her out as soon as she got here. Get her the ____out! Place has gone to ___ since she’s been here.”

    “They hide safety issues. They don’t report what they should.”

    “I was attacked and filed a report and they yelled at me, not the other girl. Not even safe.”

    “They got rid of some of our teachers or they left or whatever, but they were good.”

    Although many teachers walked in for Parent Teacher Conference, avoiding eye contact, some gave us a quick thumbs up, a wink and mouthed a “thank you.” Some stopped and told us of the conditions and how the place used to be a good one to work at. As recent as last month, Principal Namita Dwarka made a veteran teacher with the highest regents scores an Absent Teacher Reserve (ATR) or as the media and DOE spin them “unwanted teachers.” You have high scores, are a loud voice for the students and staff and then labeled ‘unwanted teacher.” Isn’t there an American flag in front of each classroom still?

    In any case, UFT Solidarity was happy to have New Action and along side in a united front against a bad educational leader.
    The Unity team will not do anything for the hard working veteran teachers of W.C. Bryant High School.

  18. Why is it that the UFT protects abusive Principals over hard working veteran teachers?


  19. Lawsuits and age discrimination complaints will continue until she stops mistreating and targeting veteran teachers.

  20. The students are ultimately suffering. She pushed 100 experienced staff members out the door and replaced with newbies who are afraid to stand up to corruption.

  21. A school cannot have an abusive and dishonest principal in charge.

  22. 45 teachers left last year. The regents scores have plummeted. They are out of compliance in Special Education. What is Fariña doing? NADA?

  23. The UFT Queens Office should not be on her side.