New Rochelle High Students and Alumni Organize Facebook Protest of School Censorship

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New Rochelle High Students and Alumni Organize Facebook Protest of School Censorship

December 11, 2008 - 15:19

UPDATED REACTION ROUNDUP BELOW: for those who do not have Facebook accounts, we've excerpted some of the reaction from students and alumni from New Rochelle High School below.

750C91BD-D429-4414-9C2C-3EAD0D4A3B1B.jpgSo far, 14 20 32 97 students and alumni have signed up to protest the actions of the New Rochelle School District in censoring Girl, Interrupted and the numbers continue to swell; 32 have confirmed they will attend the board meeting. The protest has spread like wildfire across Facebook with over 500 students and alumni receiving invitations; 165 invites are still pending.

The following has been posted on Facebook (you need to have a Facebook account to view or join the "cause")

It has recently been reported by that New Rochelle High School's English Department willingly removed five pages from Susana Kaysen's novel Girl, Interrupted in which the characters discussed the act of giving oral sex. Not only is this disturbing on a moral level, it is illegal.

At the end of each board meeting, the general public is allowed to speak for a short period of time discussing concerns with the district.

Please come and express your concerns with their actions.

For the full article, please click here

If you cannot come yourself, please inform others of the district's actions and ask them to attend or consider calling or emailing the following people:

Cindy Babcock Deutsch
Board of Education
City School District of New Rochelle
[email protected]

Richard Organisciak
Superintendent of Schools
City School District of New Rochelle
[email protected]

Don Conetta
New Rochelle High School
[email protected]


For those who do not have Facebook accounts, we've excerpted some of the reaction from students and alumni from New Rochelle High School

Jake Haskel (Rochester)
i'll be in school still :( i wonder what the argument is going to be against the 1st amendment.....

Eitan Berk (CUNY John Jay)
I am traveling around the world, but can someone just ask whoever is in charge there this question... "are you freekin serious?!"

Helen 'Hel' Marie Staab (Earlham)
i'll still be in indiana, but i'll be there in spirit. a friend of mine read this article, recognized the name new rochelle and sent it to me. i'm pretty ashamed.

Jobin Thomas (SUNY Albany)
wow so thats embarrassing, new rochelle is usually really open. really strange they would do something like that

Tania D (New Rochelle High School)
Ugh! I have finals until 5 pm Tuesday. Someone please try to post about what happened at the meeting.

I cannot believe they would actually censor books in New Rochelle. We should all write letters to the board, who knows where they'll stop after something like this. It's obscene and ridiculous.

Stacey Levine (New Rochelle High School)
The Head of the English Department should also be reprimanded for her actions, as she shows no remorse for them.

It is shockingly awful that the pages were ripped out of these books, but the most important aspect, to me, is that the head of the English dept is the one who did it. That simply disgusts me. We live in America. Physical abuse of books is not to be even remotely tolerated. When I think of book abuse and censorship, repressive governments in some foreign countries is what comes to mind; there is something seriously wrong when pages are ripped from books being taught to 17 and 18 year olds. When I found out today I was, and still am, in disbelief.

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The City Council on December 9, 2008 voted in favor of the Draft Environmental Impact Statement for the Le Count Square development. There is ample evidence from the report that the development will cost the taxpayers of New Rochelle more than it will generate. This has been documented by Sierra Club research in other places. Below is an article which appeared in the Westchester Times Tribune which details from the Le Count Square Report how this development will cost the taxpayers more than it generates in all tax categories. Another article will follow.


Jeffrey Russ who had spoken at the original Environmental Impact Statement hearing for LeCount Square came back to the final city council hearing to reiterate his views that tall buildings for LeCount Square or anywhere else are not why people move to New Rochelle. This is a suburban city and anyone that wants to live in tall buildings can find them in Manhattan. People move to the suburbs to get away from tall buildings. Acknowledging New Rochelle needs redevelopment this proposal and other high rise buildings according to Russ "went from one extreme to the other." He wants to know why New Rochelle city officials "weren't able to attract a more sensible development," and called this LeCount Square project "ridiculous." Considering the current banking crisis, he added, this is the "worst time to approve this project."

There were other concerns brought up at the Final Environmental Impact Statement (FEIS) hearing on November 10 at New Rochelle City Hall. Public safety is a serious concern. The original Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) stated that the Police Department said they needed between 15 and 20 more officers for downtown, while the Fire Department felt 20 additional officers and a half day ambulance were needed. That was in 2006. While the Police Department now claims they have 3 additional officers and 2 community service workers, it was after 2006 when the city was embarrassed by an Easter riot at New Roc and a downtown melee. No revised figures for public service workers needed in the downtown are given in this FEIS. Instead, the authors of the report claim, based on the city's 2007 budget, 48% of the additional tax money this proposal would generate can be used to hire 8-9 more police officers and 7-8 firefighters. However, it is obvious that the full number of fire and police officers requested for downtown, including New Roc and Trump Tower of this developer, will amount to more than all the tax money this project will generate. The taxpayers of the city will have to make up the shortfall.

An unrealistic projection of 41 school children for 243 condos at a cost of $12,230 per pupil did not factor in administrative costs or capital expenditures. What if a new school is needed from all the downtown development? Similarly the optimistic sales tax projections need to be reevaluated because of present market conditions.

Environmental problems have not been addressed. There is no testing for air pollution, and no wind study. The added sewage is acknowledged by the need to install a 12" pipe, but no mention is made that the sewage treatment plant is operating above its permit capacity. Obviously the proposal will reduce the quality of life in the nearby neighborhoods.

Marjorie Brandon reported that the winds in the area of the present high rise buildings make it difficult to cross at some intersections. She also was concerned about the possible removable of cement islands on North and Huguenot Streets. Mayor Noam Bramson said a staff member would look into this and report back to her. With so many unresolved issues it is difficult to imagine how any City Council member could vote affirmatively.

Robert Cox's picture

We covered this a few weeks ago.

This comment really belongs there. Actually, it is detailed enough that it should be its own post. I sure wish you'd register and then post this to your blog (all registered users get a free blog). Then I could promote this to the front page (I cannot promote comments to the front page) so more people could see it.

Every time I post, someone at this website deletes what I write. Very unfair.


One of the most interesting aspects about any blog is that it gives anyone with time and energy the chance to voice his or her own wildly subjective perspective about anything. What is so worrisome here, in Mr. Cox’s blog, is that Mr. Cox uses the guise of journalism, moral righteousness and objectivity to further his own self-aggrandizing agenda. It is clear from what I’ve read, here in this blog, that Mr. Cox seems to be a disgruntled individual who wants revenge, not necessarily what is best for his community and the schools that his own children attend or have attended. I can only hope that people who read these comments, and anyone truly concerned for New Rochelle Schools, which are among the best in the country, understand and support what the schools are doing on a day to day basis to deliver excellent educational opportunities to all students in New Rochelle. Do not judge our schools by one isolated incident that has been addressed and rectified. Do not join one man’s crusade to malign.