NEW ROCHELLE, NY -- It is hard to imagine anything more despicable than forcing a disabled student to perform off-stage, shoved out of the way, while her classmates perform on-stage.
Except lying about it.
Now we have the video that proves it.
Last month, Talk of the Sound reported that Director of Special and Alternative Education Yvette Goorevitch made a series of misleading and material false statements in a letter filed with the U.S. Department of Education Office of Civil Rights in 2012.
Goorevitch sought to portray as unfounded a series of complaints filed by Richard Feltenstein, the father of Jennifer Feltenstein, one of two students left behind during a fire evacuation in January 2013. Many of the complaints filed by Feltenstein have since proven to be true.
Jennifer Feltenstein was accepted into the Performing and Visual Arts Education program, an elite program in the high school.
One recurring complaint over a three year period was that Jennifer Feltenstein, who has Cerebral Palsy and is wheel-chair enabled, was routinely forced to perform during PAVE concerts from the floor while her classmates performed on stage. Her father was repeatedly lied to as to why his daughter was not on stage even though there is a wheelchair lift towards the rear of the stage - the lift was broken, the fuse was blown, etc. After three years of trying, Feltenstein was finally able to convince staff at the high school to drop the front of the stage, which lowers to form an orchestra pit for performances, so that his daughter could be wheeled onto the stage and then raised up by raising the stage.
Questioned about this, Goorevitch lied to the OCR, claiming that a key had been misplaced but soon found and used to operate the wheelchair lift.
The stage in the Linda E. Kelly Auditorium is accessible to individuals with mobility impairments, the lift is not broken. On May 14, 2012 at approximately 7:15 pm, I received a phone call from Mr. Feltenstein advising me that Jennifer was performing in a concert in the Linda E. Kelly Auditorium which had begun at 7:00pm. He further reported that the lift was broken and Jennifer was participating in front of the stage. Upon further investigation, I learned that the lift was not broken. the key had been located and Jennifer participated in the rest of the concert on the stage.
Feltenstein did not say the lift was broken but that he was being told the lift was broken. There was no issue with a "lost" key and no key was soon "found".
As the video below depicts quite clearly -- the wheelchair life was not used that night.