NEW ROCHELLE, NY -- Martin Daly, President of the New Rochelle Federation of United School Employees (FUSE) issued an unprecedented, blistering "Dear Colleagues" letter Friday night to members of the union which represents all full-time pedagogical staff and service-related professionals, including security staff, in the City School District of New Rochelle.
Daly disclosed that the union's building-level committee, which represents all of the full-time teachers and staff at New Rochelle High School has been complaining for years that the school was out of control and they were ignored by building leadership which includes New Rochelle High School Principal Reggie Richardson and Assistant Principal Joseph Starvaggi.
Daly said that the faculty and staff repeatedly raised their concerns about "a general breakdown in student conduct" and "lax enforcement of attendance and lateness policies" but were ignored by Richardson.
Daly specifically raised Richardson’s failure to enforce New Rochelle Board of Education Policy 5520: Closed Campus.
The teachers and staff have repeatedly expressed their view that the failure to enforce the Code of Conduct and related policies "contributed to undermining the environment for teaching and learning" at the school, said Daly.
"Well before the events of the last few days, the NRHS FUSE Building Committee had met numerous times with administrators at the school to share their concerns over the apparent breakdown of discipline and the lack of enforcing school and district conduct policies which was negatively affecting the overall safety of staff and students."
"Over the last several years, the (NRHS FUSE Building) committee had informed the administration of a general breakdown in student conduct in the halls and other public spaces at the high school and that lax enforcement of attendance and lateness policies that contributed to undermining the environment for teaching and learning. In this, the Building Committee has been proactive and has been in communication with FUSE leadership throughout this time. The FUSE leadership team has assisted and advised the committee in their efforts. We have also relied on advice and information provided by our NYSUT Relations Specialist in addressing our members’ concerns.”
Daly disclosed to his members that the situation had deteriorated to the point that faculty and staff at the High School asked him to go above Richardson and meet directly with Schools Superintendent Dr. Brian Osborne as they no longer believed that further dialog with Richardson would be productive.
“Recently, but still prior to the tragic events of the last several days, the Building Committee requested that I schedule a meeting with our Superintendent to address their concerns and seek his intervention, since their interactions with the building administration had yielded few results. That meeting with the Superintendent will happen in the next week or so."
Daly ended on an optimistic note.
"Going forward, it is hoped that aligning the school’s practices with the district’s published policies -- closed campus, lateness, detention, etc.-- will result in allowing the staff and students of NRHS to focus on education and achievement."