Kathleen Lucadamo, New York Daily News, March 6, 2006
Teach for America, known as the Peace Corps for struggling urban schools, has sent its teachers to the worst crime-ridden schools in the nation.
But one Harlem school is too dangerous — even for them.
The national group pulled about 10 of its teachers from Intermediate School 172 after one of them was threatened and others were assaulted last year, the Daily News has learned.
And Teach for America is refusing to send any corps members back to IS 172 until order is restored, sources said.
It is believed to be the first time the organization has blacklisted a school anywhere in the nation in its 16-year history.
Since Teach for America abandoned IS 172, the school has only gotten worse, several teachers told The News.
English teacher George Ticoras said he had a chair hurled at him by a student and has been assaulted several times by kids.
“I’m not shocked that I am at a school that is violent and where kids are underperforming,” he said. “I’m shocked that the Education Department has no plan to improve things.”
Teachers said students routinely roam the halls of the W. 129th St. building, pushing their way into classrooms where they don’t belong and pulling fire alarms.
“I have told teachers to lock their doors for their personal safety,” said Sandy Haiman, who is paid to mentor five rookie teachers at the school.
Haiman, a retired teacher who worked 27 years in city schools, said she has never witnessed a school as out of control as IS 172.
“I have to wear earplugs — that’s how bad the noise level is,” she said.
It is plagued by four times the number of major crime incidents tallied at the average city middle school, and a stunning 90% of its students fail to meet math and reading standards.