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Hunts Point Parents Fostered Changes to their School

Several months ago parents rallied outside P.S. 48 to demand an end to the bullying that has persisted for some months. Many parents came forth with heart wrenching stories of their children being bullied, especially during their lunch breaks.

Hunts Point parents from Joseph R. Drake Elementary School are eager to start the new school year. Weeks after presenting their concerns directly to the DoE, P.S. 48 parents were happy to learn that their school, its principal, and staff are obligated to implement several new procedures designed to improve parent-administration relations, school safety, and create a bully-free school environment for the upcoming school year.

Several months ago parents rallied outside P.S. 48 to demand an end to the bullying that has persisted for some months. Many parents came forth with heart wrenching stories of their children being bullied, especially during their lunch breaks. Parents gathered several hundred signatures from the community and presented them before the principal and superintendent of District 8. That proved, however, to be in vain, because neither office responded. Parents then decided to go before the Community Education Council (CEC) for District 8. At their June meeting several parents spoke before the council, which included the board, superintendent, and borough liaisons. It was a very emotionally charged meeting. With their help the parents were able to contact the Department of Education’s Division of Family and Community Engagement, and in late June they met with the Director of Family Support and other DoE officials. Parent shared stories, their concerns of the bullying, the principal’s lack of engagement and apathetic attitude towards resolving the bullying. The director vowed that they would work on resolving these issues.

Days later at the July CEC meeting, the superintendent promised the parents that several changes would be made by September.

“It sounded great,” said Sandy DeJesus, StudentsFirstNY Hunts Point chapter leader, “but I wanted it in writing.”

Thus the Director of Family Support via e-mail and in concert with District 8 guaranteed the parents the following:

1. An increase in staffing ratio to students during all three lunch periods;

2. A school safety agent assigned to the P.S. 48 Pre-K building;

3. An anti-bullying program required for all staff;

4. Implementation of a Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports (PBIS) program (designed to create and maintain a positive school climate);

5. Implementation of a Learning Leaders program and

6. Implementation of monthly “Breakfast with the Principal” meetings.

Our parents are excited but they know their work isn’t over. They understand that they must hold the principal accountable throughout the school year to ensure these procedures are implemented and the errors of last year are not repeated.

“It’s a good opportunity,” commented Sandy after reading the email, “it’s a new start for a new school year.”

Our chapter members will make sure of that.

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