NEW ROCHELLE, NY -- Teachers at a New Rochelle elementary school are expressing grave concerns about violent behavior by students towards staff and school administrators.
According to a formal complaint filed last Thursday, there was an incident last year where “a student told one of the aides that he was going to bring in a gun and shoot his teacher.” The same student, according to the complaint, assaulted a teacher the year before, injuring that teacher.
District employees are worried that the failure to address violent behavior by youngsters at Davis Elementary School will lead to more violence as those students “age up” to Albert Leonard Middle School and New Rochelle High School.
The complaints come 10 months after a series of violent incidents at New Rochelle High School that left one student dead, another stabbed nearly to death and half a dozen students facing violent felony charges.
Bryan Stamps, who has since pleaded guilty to Attempted Murder for stabbing a student twice in the torso in a classroom at New Rochelle High School, had a prior violent history including stabbing a fellow student at Isaac E. Young Middle School.
The incident came to light last week after a representative of the Davis Elementary School F.U.S.E. Building Committee took the highly unusual step of bypassing the internal chain-of-command through Davis Principal Anthony Bambrola to the Central Office under Dr. Magda Parvey, filing a public complaint last week with a board-appointed security committee made up of staff, board members and community volunteers. F.U.S.E. is the union that represents New Rochelle teachers, other pedagogical staff and service-related professionals. This reporter is a member of the committee; the complaint, a public record, was discussed at a meeting of the SAVE Team on Friday.
The complaint was sent to all members of the SAVE Team which includes Assistant Superintendent for Business & Administration Jeff White, Board Member Christopher Daniello and School Security Director Bruce Daniele.
The email, sent on behalf of the Davis F.U.S.E. Building Committee to the District-Wide SAVE Team, was intended to “express a very serious concern that members have brought to our attention.”
According to the F.U.S.E. Building Committee there have many incidents since September.
“We are concerned that such events are creating an unsafe environment,” wrote Liliana Psychopedas, a teacher at the school, on behalf of the F.U.S.E. Building Committee. “There have been occasions where threats were made and we are concerned that those threats have not been reported properly.”
“Last week, we had a specific incident where a 4th grader was being restrained by the Principal and Assistant Principal and he was being escorted to the school social worker's office. The child was threatening to punch the Principal in the face. The child proceeded to make a threat saying he would murder everyone in the school.”
The F.U.S.E. Building Committee is concerned that the protocol for reporting such threats is not being followed.
“We have had children make verbal threats to teachers in the past that we also do not feel were properly addressed.”
A separate source contacted Talk of the Sound two weeks ago to say, on background, that some of the children at Davis are out of control.
According to this source, one lower grade class has “a child that is so violent and disruptive to the class that the teacher has to remove the other 20 children into the hallway on a regular basis for their safety from the violent child.”
Students are losing class time by being pulled from class or disrupted multiple times from class for safety reasons or outbursts from violent children, according to a source.
“It saddens me to say that Davis School has deteriorated from the best grade school in New Rochelle, and an Award winning school in Westchester, to a mad house since (former Principal) Bill Harrell retired.”
According to this source, there are children who are “so violent, mentally ill and out of control that they act out, vomit, throw feces and scream uncontrollably.”
“These children are often seen sitting on the floor in the hall way with the Vice Principle or Social Worker to calm down.”
There are “chew toys” available to children to “work out their stress”.
The source cited numerous recent incidents:
One child stabbed a teacher with a protractor.
One third-grader has run away from school on multiple occasions. He screams uncontrollably, is violent, belligerent, does not respond to direction or adults.
A child was brought by ambulance from Davis with a severe head injury after an incident on a playground.
The teachers, according to this source, have documented and complained to Bambrola and Assistant Principal Laurie Marinaro about the abuse and the unhealthy school environment for the other “healthy” children.
Building leadership and central office leadership refuse to report the incidents to police, the parents or appropriate channels, said the source.
A third source said there are students who likely do not belong in a mainstream classroom or regular education school setting. This source also confirmed complaints by staff have not been acted upon by building leadership and central office administration.
“All the incidences have been documented through the teachers at the school. Every incidence is written up by the teachers and or aides and is required to be given to the administrators.”
“Everything is swept under the rug,” said a source that ask not to be identified.
Talk of the Sound has filed a Freedom of Information request seeking related documentation but those records have yet to be produced by the District.
Teachers at the school feel there are concerns are being ignored by the administration.
After an outbreak of lice at the school that went on for months, 100 teachers and parents signed a petition demanding the school board and Superintendent change the District’s policy on lice. The petition was ignored. One teacher got lice from her students 5 times.
UPDATE: The activity on social media in reaction to this story has been hot and heavy. Some new allegations have been made.
BETSY MAGLIATO: There is also a child who masturbates all over the school in front of other children and has been doing this for years...in hallways, classrooms, cafeteria, outside during recess, has been doing it for years now.
BETSY MAGLIATO: My son was assaulted in a classroom at Davis in front of a teacher by a child who spent most of his time in the principals office because he was always in trouble and the parents were never called.
UPDATE: News12 ran a piece based on our reporting...
Teacher: New Rochelle 4th-grader threatened principal, entire school
Statement from Interim Superintendent Dr. Magda Parvey:
"We take these things very seriously and I believe in this case, we did follow proper protocol and did do the right thing in addressing this matter.”