Posted on June 28, 2011

The School from Hell

Susan Edelman, New York Post, June 26, 2011

Kids hoot and yammer so loudly that their ruckus drowns out the teacher. A trash can is overturned in class and dumped. Grimy floors are littered with sunflower-seed shells, spit out by the hundreds.

Books and supplies fly out the windows. Mouse droppings are everywhere, even on the computers.

MS 344, the Academy of Collaborative Education in Harlem, is a hellhole where teachers should get combat pay–they are cursed, assaulted and sometimes groped.

“It was literally war,” said a teacher who once found a sticky used condom in her purse. “I was pushed, shoved, scratched, thrown against the wall, spit on and pickpocketed. I just wanted peace.”

The Department of Education has tried twice since last year to shut MS 344, the city’s worst-performing middle school. MS 344 has made the state’s list of “persistently dangerous” schools, and just two of 88 eighth-graders last year passed the state math or reading exams.

But the United Federation of Teachers and the NAACP went to court to block the closure and 21 others, arguing the DOE did nothing to fix the ailing schools. {snip}

Meanwhile, MS 344 has festered.


Insiders gave The Post a sampling of the crime and lack of punishment.

* A teacher was transferred after a student threatened to rape his wife.


* A scrawny boy pulled out his wallet while surrounded by tough kids in the hall. A teacher learned the kid was robbed by the same gang every day for a month. Shaw [the school’s principal] reprimanded the teacher for phoning the victim’s mom.


[Editor’s Note: According to this website, the school is 75% black and 24% Hispanic. The NYC Department of Education reports that the total per student cost at MS344 is $15,742.]