Thursday, March 26, 2009

PS 24 parents call for principal's ouster

By Kate Pastor
kpastor@riverdalepress.com

Principal Philip Scharper confronted by reporters outside PS 24 on Thursday afternoon after parents at the primary school called for his resignation.

Parent leaders at PS 24 are calling for Principal Philip Scharper to be removed from his position or resign. This demand follows weeks of rumors that he crossed the line between church and state with Buddhist prayer meetings in his office and attempts to recruit school staff for a “prayer circle.”

Mr. Scharper has refused to comment on the allegations despite numerous opportunities, and some parents say that a lack of communication is the underlying problem with his leadership.

Tracy Shelton, parent association co-president, Unjoo Trebach, PA vice president, and two other members of the school executive board met with reporters at Ms. Shelton’s home today.

PA members Joanne Jurcic, left, and Unjoo Trebach address the media from Tracy Shelton's dining area.



They said the principal’s unwillingness to address the issue proves that he’s unfit to lead.

They said he has refused to communicate with parents about the ongoing investigation by the Department of Education’s Office of Equal Opportunity into the matter. In addition to being accused of proselytizing in the school building, Mr. Scharper is alleged to have a “hate list,” which he and fellow Buddhists “chant over,” as well as handing out prayer cards.

Not everyone at the school gives much credence to the accusations, including some people who work closely with the principal every day. They say they have never been offered a card nor have they been approached to join him for prayers.

“We only know what we read about in the papers,” said Ms. Trebach, maintaining that she could not confirm or deny allegations of proselytizing or a hate list.

One of Mr. Scharper's fellow Buddhists is skeptical about the rumors surrounding PS 24's embattled principal.

“There are plenty of Buddhist compassion chants," said Bill Aiken, director of public affairs for the Buddhist organization to which Mr. Scharper belongs, Soka Gakkai International-USA. "There are no Buddhist hate chants that I’m aware of,” he said, adding, “I think that allegation as a Buddhist strikes me as a bit suspect.”

Ms. Shelton and Ms. Trebach have not polled the school’s parents or parents’ association members, but have the support of the other association leaders and believe they will have support of many at the school.

One staff member, who did not want to be named, said it was a small group of teachers and parents who wanted Mr. Scharper removed because they are now unable to exert as much influence as under the previous administration.

Rumors that speak against Mr. Scharper are matched by others that say the allegations are part of a vendetta started by a disgruntled staffer at the school.

But dissatisfaction with Mr. Scharper’s leadership style is nothing new at PS 24, according to a number of parents, teachers and staff members.

One supporting indicator is the Department of Education’s Learning Environment Survey Report. The school community rated the school lower in every category (safety and respect, academic expectations, communication and engagement) the year Mr. Scharper took over the helm.

“It all comes down to his lack of competence as a leader,” said Ms. Trebach.

63 comments:

Anonymous said...

WTF?

PS 24 parent said...

The PA Executive Board is a clique run by a group of five people who aren't interested in change. Since they hold the purse strings, they have a lot of power.

As a PS 24 parent, I can say that this group has wanted Scharper out since Day 1. Is he the best principal ever? No. But I think it's cruel to try to ruin a man's career based on heresay by people who refuse to go on the record. DOE employees are protected by their union so they have protection from reprisal.

Also, what kind of Buddhist has a hate list? Seems highly suspect.

Anonymous said...

As a parent at PS 24 I am unaware of Mr. Scharper doing any of things that he is accused of doing. My child and my child's teacher are very happy with the school and I would hope that there would be a very fair and balanced investigation of the principal. Not a witch hunt, which it could very well turn into. I just hope we do what's in the best interest of the school and children, and not just please some people.

Nuclear Dwight said...

Of course, practitioners of Buddhism do not wish harm on anyone in any way. Imaginations must be running wild!

Anonymous said...

I feel like I am in high school and the tiny but uber-powerful popular clique is taking over the entire school. Lesson to our kids: SOME PEOPLE NEVER OUTGROW THIS.

Anonymous said...

I have been involved with the Buddhist organization that Mr. Scharper belongs to for over 25 years. It is true as Mr. Aiken points out that there are many compassionate Buddhist members in this organization and there are many compassionate things that members chant for. The practice itself can facilitate remarkable changes in a person’s life, energy and outlook. I have seen tremendous benefits that can be attributed to chanting. However, I do not categorically doubt the validity of the accusations against Mr. Scharper. If they indeed prove to be true, I would not be in the least bit surprised. In recent years, as the Bush administration intensified its “war on terror”, the SGI began its own internal war on terror – deeming certain leaders within the organization evil for not supporting the given agenda 100%, removing these leaders from their leadership responsibility and discouraging members from associating with these leaders - even going so far as discouraging members from associating with members who refuse to disassociate with these leaders. This has been an ongoing campaign for several years creating a serious rift in a formerly fairly harmonious community. The organization has also intensified its campaign against an organization led by the temple from which the SGI separated many years ago. The separation, at the time, seemed to have absolute merit. However, to continue to seek to “destroy” that organization seems like fundamentalism and contradictory to me and many others who have spent years of their lives supporting the SGI which calls itself a humanistic, peace organization. As for the “Hate list” and “Hate Chants” There are no hate chants, per se, but members are often encouraged to write down things/people that they are chanting for especially when they have a dislike for them. They then chant for the situation with these people or things to work themselves out in the best way possible. In fact, there is currently a sign on the altar at the SGI center to make New York “Nikken FREE” (Nikken is the name of the temple sect). So it would not surprise me that Mr. Scharper might employ a similar tactic with staff that he was having problems with.

I am truly sadden that this has happened to PS 24. I am saddened that the concepts and principles of a religion that was meant to be peaceful and humanistic has been distorted so terribly. The leadership of the SGI will no doubt affix responsibility to many things. However, I truly believe that an organization that has allowed itself to be mired in a culture of promoting an “us against them” mentality, a “fight against evil” agenda and a “my way or the highway” form of leadership has only itself to blame. I’ve been praying for a wakeup call for the SGI leadership. I hope that this is it.

Anonymous said...

I too have been a member of the SGI for over 30 years and applaud the honesty and compassion written by the previous blogger. The SGI has become an organization that has spun out of control over the past 8 or so years, and while it has many, many wonderful members, it also has become bent on destroying those who do not think the same way or are considered within the SGI mold.
Possibly, as the previous blogger wrote, this will be an opening for much needed dialogue - after all, any organization that at it's foundation speaks of world peace and humanism, should be able to carry on an open dialogue with those who see the world differently. A dialogue is not about agreeing, but about being able to create and weave a tapestry through all different pieces.
I do hope that this helps this organization get back on track to where it once was many many years ago - which was a joyful, loving, spirited community.- filled with a varied and unique group of individuals seeking to create a better world starting with themselves.
Bravo to the blogger, who ever that may be, who opened the door to the truth.

Anonymous said...

I too have been a member of the organization that Mr. Scharper belongs to, and I can say with absolute conviction that I would not be at all surprised one bit if the allegations were true. The SGI has been compiling long lists for many years of folks they deem unfit, or 'reformists' for many, many years. I have known many wonderful leaders who have been ousted for disagreeing with the 'leadership' within the organization.
The organization is known for it's introductory campaigns, many of which are about bringing folks into the SGI, so I would not doubt that Mr. Scharper is promoting the benefits of this practice in a way that seems overzealous and very uncomfortable.
One should lead by example, especially an educator: a teacher or a principal.

Anonymous said...

Some parents just like to complain about things...makes them feel like they are accomplishing something.

These are the same type of parents who believe their child to be "gifted and talented" and who will stop at nothing to get their child into the Ivy League. Of course did these parents attend the Ivy League themselves? I think people just like to live through their kids and feel like their kid's achievements are their own in some way, perhaps making up for failures in their own childhood.

A new principal isn't going to make that much of a difference. Perhaps energy could be better spent with your kids and their teachers, showing them how to do better. Furthermore, problems at PS24 are mainly due to overcrowding that the principal can't doing anything about. Here's a thought, what if you are successful in getting rid of Mr. Scharper and get a replacement principal who is WORSE????

By the time you get done complaining and hand wringing your children will have graduated from PS24 anyway.

Anonymous said...

If he's a good (or decent) principal, then he should be sat down and talked to. If he's a bad principal then he should be sat down, confronted and talked to. If he's compiling hate lists and promoting his buddhist faith and any of the children, students are suffering, and if any of the parents are suffering because of this, then he should be sat down and talked to, given a chance to explain and if his explanation is unsatisfactory, then he should be ousted. I would expect his buddhist faith would promote him sharing his side of the story, events. Isn't that what compassion is? It certainly is with Tibetan buddhism.

Anonymous said...

The allegation regarding the "hate list" is a serious one, and if the DOE concludes that it actually happened, then the principal should be reassigned or dismissed.

However, I'm extremely leery of the Riverdale Review's role in bringing the accusations to light. Their "reporting" on matters concerning the DOE, Bloomberg/Klein, and the Leadership Academy is simply and laughably flat-out biased.

Anonymous said...

PS 24 parents were not made aware of this situation until after it had spun out of control and in no way do we all call for his ouster. He is a good man and has always acted with kindness to my child, as well as, I'm sure, to the children of the parents who are trying to chase him away.

Anonymous said...

The audio interview accompanying the article on the RP homepage is a must-listen.

Anonymous said...

If this man can't express his religious belief in the school, then no one should be wearing a yarmulke there, no one should be wearing a crucifix and no muslim should cover her head in the classroom. Given that it's Riverdale, I'm not surprised that the parents aren't happy that this individual isn't a member of the "right" ethnic group that feels it should be running the school along with the rest of the city- therefore to paint him as some kind of a monster is not unlike what is done with anyone opposing their will or racist views. The organization the principal belongs to, SGI, has been considered a religious cult, like Judaism, Christianity, and Islam, the difference being, unlike the other mainstream religions, Buddhism is a non-violent form of worship.

Angry PA Exec Board Member said...

Members of the PA Executive Board are being asked to sign a petition that Board Officers (tracy, cori, cliff. anjou, etc) refuse to email out. Rather a select group of "parent leaders" have copies that they will show you, if asked. That's crazy - what are they so afraid of?

This has become a witch hunt!!!

Anonymous said...

While the general parent body may not have been involved in the spur of the moment press interview, the PS24 PA has been holding regular open meetings, for both the executive board (on which approximately 50 parents sit) and the general parents association, throughout the school year. The last 3 or 4 meetings have ended with a forum to discuss many of the concerns at the school. These issues have included concerns regarding Mr. Scharper's leadership, safety issues and discussions about the general state of chaos and under Mr. Scharper's command. These meetings are open to the entire parent body and any parent who is truly involved in the school would have been aware of these issues if they attended even one of these meetings.

It is a shame that the parents who are verbally supportive of Mr. Scharper are those that have had little or no contact with him and have not attended the aforementioned open meetings. The PA is led by a group of dedicated parents with the sole interest of continuing to make PS 24 the great school that it is. The PA's real interest is in raising a lot of money for the school in order to fund wonderful enrichment program for our children (i.e.. extra class trips, dance/music specialists, theater programs, etc). The PA is not interested in helping to run the school on a day to day basis, although Mr. Scharper, unlike any principal at the school before him, has been increasing dependent on the PA to help him do so.

As far as sitting down with Mr. Scharper to discuss our concerns - this has been done over and over again. The PA has been pleading with Mr. Scharper for MONTHS to address the concerns of parents and teachers and to let him know that people are really worried about his leadership and the future of our wonderful school. He has disregarded both the pleas and the warnings and has failed to address the concerns, even when repeatedly questioned.

The job of principal at PS24 is a privilege, not a right. The reasons for which Mr. Scharper should be removed from his position have very little to do with the his now well publicized religious activities. Mr. Scharper should be removed because the parents, teachers and students who are involved in and familiar with what is going on in the school, feel that under his leadership, there children are not receiving the safe and positive learning experience that they deserve, and that students in our school have historically received at PS24 for many decades before Mr. Scharper's arrival.

Anonymous said...

While the general parent body may not have been involved in the spur of the moment press interview, the PS24 PA has been holding regular open meetings, for both the executive board (on which approximately 50 parents sit) and the general parents association, throughout the school year. The last 3 or 4 meetings have ended with a forum to discuss many of the concerns at the school. These issues have included concerns regarding Mr. Scharper's leadership, safety issues and discussions about the general state of chaos under Mr. Scharper's command. These meetings are open to the entire parent body and any parent who is truly involved in the school would have been aware of these issues if they attended even one of these meetings.

It is a shame that the parents who are verbally supportive of Mr. Scharper are those that have had little or no contact with him and have not attended the aforementioned open meetings. The PA is led by a group of dedicated parents with the sole interest of continuing to make PS 24 the great school that it is. The PA's real interest is in raising a lot of money for the school in order to fund wonderful enrichment programs for our children (i.e.. extra class trips, dance/music specialists, theater programs, etc). The PA is not interested in helping to run the school on a day to day basis, although Mr. Scharper, unlike any principal at the school before him, has been increasingly dependent on the PA to help him do so.

As far as sitting down with Mr. Scharper to discuss our concerns - this has been done over and over again. The PA has been pleading with Mr. Scharper for MONTHS to address the concerns of parents and teachers and to let him know that people are really worried about his leadership and the future of our wonderful school. He has disregarded both the pleas and the warnings, and has failed to address the concerns, even when repeatedly questioned.

The job of principal at PS24 is a privilege, not a right. The reasons for which Mr. Scharper should be removed from his position have very little to do with the his now well-publicized religious activities. Mr. Scharper should be removed because the parents, teachers and students who are involved in and familiar with what is going on in the school, feel that under his leadership, their children are not receiving the safe and positive learning experience that they deserve, and that students in our school have historically received at PS24 for many decades before Mr. Scharper's arrival.

Anonymous said...

To all the parents who want Mr. Scharper out and who are posting anonymously; why aren't you posting your names? What are you afraid of? Why this anonymous witch hunt? Cowards like you always have an agenda that you want others to accomplish for you so you don't get your hands dirty. If you want Mr. Scharper out, have the courage to confront him directly or shut up about it.

Anonymous said...

Mr. Scharper is "leading" PS 24 into the ground! He has taken a great school and instead of running it effectively, he has created an atmosphere where everyone else does all the work to keep the school going while he insults the staff, ignores the children and exploits the parents. He has got to go!

Concerned PS 24 Parent said...

While Mr. Scharper certainly deserves a full and fair investigation of the allegations made against him before he is "convicted" in the court of public opinion, his judgment and conduct throughout this entire incident raises serious doubts about his already questionable competence and leadership of PS 24. Throughout Scharper's tenure as principal of PS 24, the school has experienced unprecedented teacher attrition and he has made little or no effort to embrace the PS 24 parent community. The lack of support for Scharper among his teaching staff and the Riverdale community at large speaks volumes about his ineffectiveness as a school leader. These claims of Buddhist "hate chants" are sensationalist at best, but Scharper, as with any professional in his position, should have been scrupulous in preventing even the suggestion of mixing his personal religious beliefs with school activities. Further, Scharper's failure to even address these unsettling allegations with the PS 24 community suggests an arrogance or naivety which is difficult to comprehend. Scharper may have had an arrow on his back for some time but his own poor judgment permitted this troubling situation to happen and continue to fester. Perhaps if he spent more time on developing relationships within the school community and less time on pressuring teachers and students to achieve Joel Klein's performance metrics from his ivory tower, he would not find himself in his current position.

Amy said...

What seems to be lost in some of the comments is that in order for our children to learn they need a safe, respectful, and tolerant school community. We do not have this community if children feel unsafe, if teachers feel anxious and intimidated, and if the principal refuses to engage in an open dialogue with parents, teachers, and students.

I have no doubt that Mr Scharper is an intelligent, well-meaning person. However, I do not believe he has the leadership qualities needed to be a principal.

Anonymous said...

It is clear to me that those parents “outraged” by recent events have spent little or no time at the school during the school day. I acknowledge that unfortuantely not everyone is able to do so. That being the case it would behoove you to get all your information before attacking the incredible hardworking PA leadership for their recent actions. Those of you who deliberately choose not to volunteer your time OR attend the public forums seem to have very little right to be outraged at anyone. Full time jobs and single parenting are no excuse because many on our very active Executive Board fall into either or both of those categories.

It is clear to those of us that spend time at the school volunteering that there is a chaotic atmosphere present that is in no way conducive to a productive or safe learning environment for our children. While Mr. Scharper is in no way evil he is also absolutely in no way a leader. He commands no respect from the majority of his employees (from teachers to aides to custodial staff) and the children have now picked up on that. He fails to grasp the importance or urgency of many serious issues that are brought to his attention. Unfortunately the teachers have not gone public because they fear retaliation but the majority is happy the issue of poor leadership is finally being addressed. Those are the hard working teachers that remained after we lost about 9 last June who could no longer tolerate staying in that environment. This is not a “witch hunt” as it is being portrayed by some, but an opportunity to get the best possible education and care for our children. Isn’t that what we all want?

Anonymous said...

What exactly, and I mean precisely (with details) did Mr. Scharper do that would warrant people suggesting his resignation?

Just curious . . .

Cliff said...

To those who believe that the media reporting resembles a "witch hunt" ... I agree with you.

To those who have expressed the opinion that Buddhism is a peaceful religion ... I agree with you.

To those who have suggested that Principal Scharper is a good man ... I agree with you.

To those who have characterized the P.A. Executive Board as a clique ... I agree with you...

It is a clique of caring and INVOLVED parents who do more in a week to promote a positive atmosphere in the school than some of its detractors will do in their entire six years of involvement at the school.

For those who are calling for Tracy Shelton's ouster ... SHAME ON YOU! First, she would be more than happy to step down as PA President right now. Second, lest you forget... She has not been paid a thin dime for the countless hours she's devoted and the sacrifices she has made to make the school a better place for your kids and mine.

To the PS 24 parent who said "this group has wanted Scharper out since Day 1." You are flat out wrong!

To the Anonymous blogger who suggested that Mr. Scharper be confronted. He has been on many occasions.

To the Anonymous blogger who believes a new principal won't make a difference ... sadly, you have obviously never witnessed the transformative power a real leader can have on an organization.

And now, for my personal favorite ... to the Angry PA Exec Board Member ... your hypocrisy is poetic!
You have the temerity to question what I am afraid of when you won't even put your name on your statement!

But, I will answer your question. We don't want to e-mail or distribute a petition that may damage the reputation of Mr. Scharper further, unless it is absolutely necessary. We want to give him a chance to do what is right, not for himself, but for the school. If that means resigning or agreeing to a transfer... so be it. If that means miraculously transforming himself into the strong leader that this job demands ... so be it.

To those who believe that this about "hate lists" and "chants", GET A GRIP! If Mr. Scharper was the right man for this job, I wouldn't care if he belonged to Martians for a Free Tibet! This about the quality of education at P.S. 24 and the school's reputation as one of the best in the city.

The only person responsible for "ruining" Mr. Scharper's career, if that's what ends up happening, is Mr. Scharper himself!

And, lastly to the Anonymous blogger who referred to anyone who wants Scharper out as a coward ...
WHAT"S YOUR NAME!

If you want to replace us as leaders of the PA, come to the next PA meeting and put your name up for nomination ... But Anonymous won't work!

My name is Cliff Stanton, I have put my name up for Co-President of the PA. I will ask the parents of P.S. 24 to give me the privilege to serve, and the opportunity to do the best job I possibly can.

Dear Anonymous, What are your plans?

Anonymous said...

It's a shame that he is being investigated for these charges because they seem quite weak( Buddhism seems like the least dangerous religions, to me) compared to the following:

A librarian wis missing from the library.
A third grade teacher is missing from the grade.

These are the real issues. The fact that these 2 things occurred, is related to Joel Klein's business model for education that shows his disdain for educators, and the resultant horrible Principal's Institute that puts people who are not educators in charge of new and seasoned teachers.

Principal Sharper's lack of communication made it impossible for the staff and parents to help avoid these above mentioned losses. And he really must communicate now about the other issue that has gotten so much attention.

Anonymous said...

I still don't know what Mr. Scharper is guilty of. AGAIN I ask, quite sincerely, what exactly, precisely, has he done?

Anonymous said...

"What exactly, and I mean precisely (with details) did Mr. Scharper do that would warrant people suggesting his resignation?"

I'd also like this question answered -- especially with respect to the allegations claiming that his incompetence has created an unsafe school environment.

And here's another question: what happens if the DOE clears Scharper of the harrassment/"hate list" charges, and what if they determine that despite his supposed shortcomings as a leader, visionary, communicator, etc., that there is no basis for dismissing/reassigning him simply because it's not showing up in any measurables, and in their opinion it doesn't seem to be affecting what happens in classrooms?

The DOE will go to extreme, logic-defying lengths to protect a product of the principal's academy. They will see the school's biggest challenge as being overcrowding, something utterly beyond Scharper's control. The DOE totally ignored the community's input when it came to choosing Klein's successor -- why would they value it now?

Is there a plan for moving forward if the DOE says tough luck, PS 24 parents, this is your principal for the foreseeable future?

Anonymous said...

". . . that may damage the reputation of Mr. Scharper further . . . "

Is that even possible at this point?

To recap: the PA leadership gave a series of TV and print interviews in which they repeatedly and forcefully described Scharper as being an inept ditherer who is singlehandedly destroying the school.

Is there really a "further?"

Anonymous said...

As a "concerned" parent of PS 24 this outrages me. I believe that this is nothing more than a vendetta. I have studied all religions and it just doesn't fit. Buddhism does not have "hate" chants; it's just not part of the philosophy that is Buddhism. One needs only to look at the Dalai Lama to know this. The story was more like he was in his office practicing witchcraft and putting spells on people. I still believe in innocent until proven guilty. I hate stories that set out to ruin someone because someone said something. Aren't we adults, What message does this send to our children, that they are guilty first and sorry if their isn't anything there oh well “sorry”. This is a man's career we are talking about and his life. I say GROW-UP and I don't know who or why this was started but to me it seems highly suspect. Shame on the Media for just repeating the nonsense and not waiting for the full story or to do any investigating on their own. If the people he put a "hex" on would come forward and not hide behind there words then maybe they can get the attention they so desperately need. I teach my son to have a backbone, and to stand up for what he believes in. I teach him to respect others regardless of their race, gender, or religion. What message are you teaching your son's and daughters by doing this? I really don’t understand how this got so blown up and I do agree w/ the clique that is the PA. While I respect the work they do, they are not an easy group to talk to or to be a part of. They act like it’s just there “ private” school. So immature. This reminds me of what the Salem Witch Trials must have been like. Mass HISTERIA, SAD…

Joel Katz said...

To be historically accurate,during the Salem Witch trials of 1692 and 1693 in colonial Massachusetts, anyone accused of witchcraft was stoned to death.
We have come a long way in 316 years. Today, in enlightened Riverdale, slander and defamation, along with scare tactics "our children are unsafe", "WHAT IS YOUR NAME?", inuendo, hate and calumny are sufficient.
At least the nature of the beast is now out in the open.

In_The_Know_About_SGI said...

The Soka Gakkai is a dangerous cult. This whole chanting over a "hate list" is not new to them. After they split up with their parent organization Nichiren Shoshu in the 90s, they would chant for the DEATH of the chief priest and the failure of the organization. SGI does not have specific hate chants. Instead, a general chant, "Nam Myoho Rengye Kyo", is used for what they want to ask for --- including misfortune for those who are in the hate list.

RECRUITMENT. The SGI has a very intense focus on recruitment. The more recruits, the more soldiers they have worshiping Daisaku Ikeda (the groups founder). The more soldiers the more money SGI gets. Ikeda LITERALLY gets paid hundreds of millions of dollars. This is a cult of personality. Be very careful.

NOT YOUR GARDEN VARIETY BUDDHIST ORGANIZATION. People, this supposedly "Buddhist" organization is nowhere near acetic in their practice. They chant for new cars, jewelry, and other material things. You may hear them talk about their ultimate goal as "World Peace" but you have to understand what they mean by world peace. World Peace or Kosen-rufu, they say, can only be achieved when the whole world is converted into the SGI. Good SGI buddhists, of course, are defined as those who follow the heart of their founder Ikeda. His word is the end all and be all --- above any Buddhist text.

VIOLENT ORGANIZATION. While there are many kind members of this organization, the SGI itself is a very organized militaristic organization obeying the every whim of its dictator Ikeda. The SGI is known to harass and frame its enemies. There are so many examples of this but I'll leave it up to you to research.

Try reading through these two websites:

SGI Profile: http://www.rickross.com/groups/gakkai.html

Rick Ross Cult Education Forum: http://forum.rickross.com/read.php?5,58575,page=1

The Victims of SGI Website: http://www.toride.org/eindex.html

NOTICE: People, if you don't know more than what Wikipedia tells you about the SGI --- if you have no personal intimate knowledge then please don't pretend to know.

PRINCIPAL. So enough about the SGI and how dangerous it is. As for the principal, he definitely should be dismissed if the accusations are proven to be true. His refusal to air his side works against him and could be taken as a sign of his guilt. In my experience, I wouldn't be surprised if it were true. The SGI is notorious for using pressure tactics to recruit and/or keep wayward members within the organization. The school's staff would have perceived/experienced the threat of prejudicial treatment by the "big boss" of the school and his cohort. While they are certainly free to chose their own religion (we are in America after all), these "hate lists" should not exist as well as the "in group out group" treatment that accompanies it.

Joel Katz said...

On History:

"The media came to us" is a mantra(you should excuse the expression) mouthed over and over by board members.

The media responded to unidentified staff persons who have apparently slandered Mr. Scharper. The executive board members, calling Mr. Scharper every name in the book, then used this media tidle wave in order to oust Mr. Scharper.

Mr. Scharper didn't fall into line, nor show enough obeisance to the powerful executive board. So they decided to bring him, and with him the community, to its knees, using the twin strategies of fear mongering and inuendo.

The board's tactics are familiar to any student of modern American history. The board members' cry for names: "What is Your Name?", brings to mind the Wisconsin senator' s cries for names in the 1950's.

The secret petition and the secret accusers bring to mind McCarthy's tactics of unsubstantiated fear inspiring accusations.

In 1952, it was Special Counsel for the Army Joseph N. Welsh, who, during the Army McCarthy hearings, famously said:
"Senator, You have done enough. Have you no sense of decency sir, at long last? Have you left no sense of decency?"

The good news is that our children, who we are told are now unsafe, can at least now learn history first hand. Some themes: The Salem Witch Hunts, Mass Hysteria, Demagoguery, The McCarthy Era...It's endless.

As I hear self-seeking deceit and nefarious mendacity from the board, about "not wanting to shame Mr. Scharper" (this is the very essence of obscenity, like beating someone up in an alley and kissing him at the same time), and about how "our children are unsafe", I wonder what Mr. Welsh would say.

I know what Marc Twain did say:
"History may not repeat itself, but it sure does rhyme"

Anonymous said...

I dare any of the board members and parents who are opposed to Mr Scharper continuing as principal to post an account of his alleged bad behavior, give an explanation of why they think he should be removed, and then sign their name.

Anonymous said...

It is quite ironic that the "Anonymous" poster above (April 1 4:28pm) is daring board members to post their names when he/she wouldn't do so him/herself.

Come on. Enough with the tactics. You have enough right to be anonymous as the board member or any other parent/teacher/friend of PS24 to be anonymous. Hey, maybe they're afraid of reprisal from the SGI. Who knows what they're capable of! And don't tell me they're an innocent harmless organization. Puhleeze.

Anonymous said...

I double dare them. In fact, I triple dog dare them.

Carl Spackler said...

Putting the religion issue aside, does anyone think Scharper is doing a good job for our school and our children?

It appears to me that the answer is a resounding "no" and he should be replaced. All claims of any witch hunt aside, if any of us did our jobs as poorly as Scharper, we would have been shown the door already.

Nuff said!!

cliff stanton said...

Sir, have you no common sense?

Your misapplication of a critical moment and an important lesson in American history is alarming.

You have become guilty of the same accusations you have made of the PA Executive Board. At best your McCarthy era analogy completely misses the mark, and at worst borders on demagoguery.

I'm sorry to disappoint, but I maintain no black list, I have no subpoena powers, and I am not interested in defaming anyone's character.

We, the PA leadership, selflessly gave Mr. Scharper our able assistance to help him do his job. We applauded his very few accomplishments. We covered for his deficiencies. We excused his failures. We warned him on countless occasions throughout his tenure that confidence in him as a leader was waning quickly. We implored him to defend himself. WE EVEN OFFERED TO DEFEND HIM.

When we felt the situation was hopeless, we acted.

Please spare me your sanctimonious diatribes!

You completely twisted my words ("What is your name?") for your own misguided purpose. I chose those words to express my outrage at those who would accuse me and my PA colleagues of cowardice, while hiding behind anonymity.

The right to face your accusers is a time-honored principle of our democracy. To put me in the same category as one of the ultimate villains in American history would be laughable if it wasn't so personally disappointing... because you know me and my family. Our children are friends. You have personally thanked me for my dedication to the school and the countless hours of volunteer time I have devoted to make P.S. 24 a better place for our kids.

You call us fear mongers because we identified and CORRECTED too many unsafe conditions in and around the school that our principal could not?!

What's even more upsetting is that tonight, we, the PA leaders, put ourselves front and center to "face the music" ... to give the parent body an opportunity to express its concerns and explain our actions on its behalf ... and you were nowhere to be found. Had you been there you would have heard many accounts from the broader parent community of Principal Scharper's failures and shortcomings.

And while some parents left the meeting still uncomfortable with some of the tactics we employed, nearly all expressed gratitude for the work of the Executive Board, informed about the difficulties under the two years of Mr. Scharper's tenure, and resolute in the belief that something needs to done quickly.

Tonight fences came down. The seeds of understanding and healing were sowed, and the school community reunited. Again, I am saddened that you weren't a part of it.

I will choose to believe that it was more important for you to spend time with your fantastic kids, than to seek the facts. If so, I cannot find fault.

In my mind, it's more attractive than the alternative ... that you are more interested in railing against the wind, than you are with finding difficult solutions to difficult problems.

But, I commend you for three things: 1) being brave enough to attach your name to your statement,
2) forcing me to step back and assess my own conduct in this affair, and 3) making me reach for my dictionary.

Now, I will put down my pen.

When we meet again, I will extend my hand to you with civility and perhaps even friendship.

Take it... don't take it. Either way, I will go to sleep at night assured that I played a positive role in bringing about needed change in the school that we both care about so deeply.

Joel Katz said...

Elementary School History Lessons, Part II

Cliff:

You accuse me personally of "being more interested in railing than finding solutions". Your tirade is based, you state, upon the fact that I didn't attent your PA meeting last night. I elected to go to the second PA meeting, announced for next week. I decided not to stand up my clients. I didn't know that I needed your permission to go to work.

You made an assumption about my absence from the meeting, made inferences based on the false assumption, then attacked (read slandered) me over and again in your personal diatribe.

Does this have the smell of deja vu (see my last blog, "On History" above)? Your "discretion" knows no bounds. Let's recall that I have never referred to you until now.

The missuse of the media, in this case this internet blog, does indeed have a familiar ring to it. Maybe it's becoming a habit for you and for others. But public intimidation is bullying pure and simple. And, as such, cowardly, in my book.

You were angered enough by some parents' anonymity in these posts, that you demanded, in bold type: "What is your name"? I'm sure that this was not a reference to Porfirio Diaz, the Mexican tyrant, who famously questioned Emiliano Zapato with those words in 1909 (depicted in Elia Kazan's movie, Viva Zapata).

Kazan, ironically, was an artist already famous, by the release date of the movie, for giving names to McCarthy's House Un-American Activities Committee.

I sign all my statments. So, let's see what excoriation you come up with next, and how that will educate parents to drop their anonymity.

Take a breath. I'm sure I will hear about your meeting. I will learn all the explanations of the Executive Board, the reasons for their petty, suburban, and truly un- American putsch.

It would take a lot to dissuade me that what's going on here in Riverdale is vile.

I've spoken at great length to several executive board members, and so far I have heard much less than one hears in any coop laundryroom about the latest complaints against the coop board.

The PA executive board is out of line, out of time, out of mind, and out of cosmos in their arrogant playground petty terror campaign.

Anonymous said...

Cliff doesn't seem to be talking to you, Joel Katz. But you are adorable in your self-absorbedness.

C. Rodriguez said...

As parent new to PS 24 this academic year I have been pleasantly surprised at Principal Scharper's professionalism with parents and children. His desire to do away with bullying. His promotion of parental involvement. I have been in and out of many NYC public schools and rarely have I seen a principal directing traffic, greeting parents and children in the morning, helping board little ones on their buses at the end of the day, mediating a small conflict among children, stopping to shake a parents hand and thank them for their involvement. I never saw this until I enrolled my child at PS 24. I think the parents that are complaining should visit PS 86 for example, where parents with opinions are not allowed on the PA, where the principal runs the PA, refuses to allow parents to volunteer during lunch time, where parental input is never sought, where the principal berates and ridicules staff and children alike. Where staff is afraid to speak up. Where bullies are allowed to run rampant, torturing other children. Where punishments are issued by the principal with no considerations of the facts, parental input or even the teacher's input! Where if his tactics or decisions are questioned he will tell you who to call and complain to but reminds you that he "runs things." The PA at PS 24 thinks this principal does not communicate or show appropriate leadership? I think the PA is not showing appropriate leadership, by not polling all parents before acting/going public. The PA is supposed to represent us all, yet they have not asked me and at least a couple dozen other parents I know. I was not asked how I felt it would affect my child for them to go public? Personally, that is not leadership. The PA does not represent my opinion or that of numerous parents. I have seen a wonderful, caring, profesional leader. The complaint was made, the investigation is underway, let it take its course. Unfortunately, It is resembling a "witch hunt." Who benefits? Not my child that asks why these horrible things are being said about the best school principal he has known. The PS 24 PA should be careful what they ask for.

Anonymous said...

I was at the PA meeting on 4/1.

I walked in upset with the bad publicity the PA was generating.

I walked out convinced that this principle has to resign from this school. They were way too many accounts of misconduct/incompetence/inaction and poor judgment to stay.

The SGI stuff seems irrelevant at this point.

Keep in mind that the parent volunteer their time and money for the school. They have jobs and family and still give their time to work for OUR kids!! Making "clique" statements does not respect their efforts.

Kevin Saer said...

Mr. Katz, I don't know you but clearly your extensive vocabulary and knowledge of histroy and film suggest that you are an intelligent and thoughtful person. As such, I would suggest that you reserve further comment about Mr. Stanton's or the Exec Board's witch hunt or McCarthyism tactics until after you attend the next parent meeting.

I was at the parent meeting last night and was absolutely horrified and shocked. Many brave parents stood up to tell their stories - some shaking and with tears in their eyes - about horrible situations that were created by or allowed to persist under Mr. Scharper. Frankly, I had no idea things were this bad at our school. After hearing what we all heard last night, you might reserve your criticism and only offer thanks and support to the Exec Board for all their railing against Mr. Scharper.

What became apparent to me (and most everyone else at the meeting) is that we have some very serious problems with Mr. Scharper at the helm of PS 24 and he needs to be removed quickly and by any lawful means necessary.

G&T Parent said...

To the anonymous person who equated parents involved with the recent events with Mr. Scharper to parents of children accepted into the G&T program...get your facts straight!

The G&T program was established by the DOE in recognition of the special needs of exceptionally bright children. It is a PUBLIC SCHOOL program and has nothing to do with the Ivy League.

The majority of parents with children in the G&T program do NOT think they are any better than you or anyone else. They just want their children to move at a pace that will keep up with their learning abilities. Most GE classes move at a more moderate pace which can cause boredom and a lack of effective stimulation in a child who is ahead of the learning curve.

The Bronx is lacking in adequate G&T programs compared with other boroughs. There are currently more G&T eligible children than there are spaces available in our district. Parents are concerned with these inequities and it is in no way to be confused with the events related to Mr Scharper's conduct or any allegations!

Please limit your insults to the proper parties involved.

Anonymous said...

Dear Mr. Katz
The truth be know, you have had a problem with all the PA Leaders and their Executive Boards dating way back. Yet you have had no problem when your children have benefited from all the programs provided by the hard work of these leaders. Through the years you have NEVER lifted a finger to help the Parents Association provide for all the students in our school. There are givers and there are takers and you Mr. Katz or a taker! Shame on you! Have you ever heard of the phrase "put your money were you mouth is?" (In this case an hour of your time volunteering, attending PA Meetings, etc.) the only time you in the school is when it concerns one of your children. To hell with the other 700+ students. To finally speak up now when you have no idea about the goings on in the school is self-serving and arrogant.

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Joel Katz said...

To the Anonymous party who claims that Cliff was not referring to me: reread the comments or speak to Cliff. Cliff and I know each other well, and have communicated more than once since the last messages. Many of his comments were about me. Civil behavior demands getting your facts straight before posting on the WWW.

To the Anonymous party who wishes to attack me for non participation in the school: I'm a parent and that should credential me enough in this society to speak my mind.

But before slandering someone, at least have the decency to get your facts straight.

You say I have NEVER (your bold face type) lifted a finger to help the exalted board do anything for our children. What cowardly infamy from an annomymous blogger who tells me to "put your money where your mouth is".

I lead a writing club every week after school for second graders in the library accross the street. I have done so for three months. Speak to the parents who participate. I lead a new writing club for fifth graders in the school, also once a week.

I was a Learning Leaders volunteer for one a half years in the Smart Lab and in various classrooms. I have attended numerous PA meetings over the six years that my three children have attended PS 24.

I have met with both Principals numerous times on many issues, usually concerning the rights of students, but also concerning other issues such as after school activities. I have attended workshops and other meeetings for years.

Again, none of this is any of your business. The board represents parents. I have as much right to express opinions in this community and in this country as you do to annonymously defame parents on this blog.

This hysterical attacking behavior is the same method the board is using to pull down this community.
Is this the new Riverdale virus? Is this our legacy to our children?

As I have said before, it is my opinion as a parent, and this after extensive talks with various executive board members asking them over and over what their complaints are, that what is happening here is calumny and fear mongering. And they/you are way out of line. That is where I stand. It is what it is.

Your pathetic and cowardly attempts to slander me neither make you right nor human.

And when are you and the other board "leaders" going to retire that: "Shame on You" bromide. It has been the theme of the board for years, and has only encouraged a pattern of shaming children that has nothing to do with humanism, dignity and education.

Anonymous said...

From my estimation, Mr. Katz has been the only "blogger" to use the words dignity, humanism, and education. These words represent the concepts and ideals in which high level learning can actually occur. Bravo!

Anonymous said...

I think that the major issue at hand here is whether Mr. Scharper is a good leader, and I have to say that I don't feel he is. My child has been at the school for both Scharper's and Levine's administrations, and I feel a palpable difference in the atmosphere since Scharper came on. Mr. Levine was very approachable and could usually be found outside the school in the morning, greeting both students and parents. One got the sense that not only did he know the students, but the parents as well. "Principal" Scharper (as he likes to refer to himself) is almost never outside, rarely greets anyone, and I feel doesn't know me or my child from a hole in the wall.

I have been to the PA meetings, and I have been amazed at Mr. Scharper's inability to answer questions to anybody's satisfaction. I have, on occasion, seen Ms. Schenk step in to answer questions that Mr. Scharper cannot seem to find the words to answer himself. Watching your principal stammer his way through a meeting does not instill a feeling of confidence. Neither does the exodus of good teachers who had been there for years.

One last item: when Mr. Scharper decided to assign the students summer homework, we (and the children) were assured by him that there would be special recognition for those that participated. When the school year started there was nothing of the sort. It is completely wrong to promise something to a child and then not deliver. If this man cannot keep a promise made to CHILDREN, then how can he be deemed an effective leader overall?

Anonymous said...

I think that the major issue at hand here is whether Mr. Scharper is a good leader, and I have to say that I don't feel he is. My child has been at the school for both Scharper's and Levine's administrations, and I feel a palpable difference in the atmosphere since Scharper came on. Mr. Levine was very approachable and could usually be found outside the school in the morning, greeting both students and parents. One got the sense that not only did he know the students, but the parents as well. "Principal" Scharper (as he likes to refer to himself) is almost never outside, rarely greets anyone, and I feel doesn't know me or my child from a hole in the wall.

I have been to the PA meetings, and I have been amazed at Mr. Scharper's inability to answer questions to anybody's satisfaction. I have, on occasion, seen Ms. Schenk step in to answer questions that Mr. Scharper cannot seem to find the words to answer himself. Watching your principal stammer his way through a meeting does not instill a feeling of confidence. Neither does the exodus of good teachers who had been there for years.

One last item: when Mr. Scharper decided to assign the students summer homework, we (and the children) were assured by him that there would be special recognition for those that participated. When the school year started there was nothing of the sort. It is completely wrong to promise something to a child and then not deliver. If this man cannot keep a promise made to CHILDREN, then how can he be deemed an effective leader overall?

Anonymous said...

Dr. Ikeda's interview in Tricycle, the respected Buddhist magazine. Anyone suggesting that the Soka Gakkai is a cult has scorched the seeds of their own enlightenment.

Anonymous said...

Wow. That Ikeda article on Tricycle Magazine reads like a press prelease from the SGI PR group. Ikeda buys himself academic honors and honorary degrees (albeit mostly from no-name universities) now is it really a stretch for him to also buy press like this? This is one of the oldest trick in the book!

Yeah, go ahead and read the Ikeda "interview" (if it really is one). Then, go read this article. You decide who you believe.

Oh and I noticed that the poster above called him Dr. Ikeda. How is it really that he became a "Dr."? Did he get a PhD or MD? I guess not because Ikeda didn't even finish college. So that's not it. So it must be from those honorary degrees. When I become rich and powerful, that's what I'm gonna do - buy respect. Seeing that Ikeda has been such a miserable failure at this I suppose it really is harder than I thought.

Anonymous said...

I guess two things have to be kept separate in this issue: Mr. Scharper’s qualifications as a teacher/principal and him being a 'member' of SGI. If he really has mixed those two issues he quite rightfully is in trouble.

I myself have been a 'member' of SGI and stayed on after the split from Nichiren Shoshu. One thing I noticed is that SGI is changing for the worst. I left a few years ago and still see myself as a Nichiren-Buddhist – not affiliated to any specific nichiren school at the moment though. There are some wonderful individuals in SGI, but what made me leave?
The godlike status given to Mr. Ikeda (Mr. - since I earned my degrees, his are solely honorary degrees) to the extent, that the teachings of Nichiren, let alone Shakyamuni, are shifted to the background – its not about Buddhism anymore, but the advance of SGI and Mr. Ikeda.
The hatred that was underlying discussions on issues concerning Nichiren Shoshu even more than a decade after the split – so much for religious tolerance.
The tremendous ignorance of most Gakkai members about Buddhism in general – only what passes SGI’s 'censorship system' is to be regarded worth studying.
The dubious structures of the Organisation itself – in order to hamper transparency hardly any of SGI’s 'members' ARE members in a legal sense. For that reason SGI can again and again say things like 'none of our members were involved in such incidents'.
The Gakkai-lingo which often uses terms like defeat, victory, enemies, fight, challenge, courage, sometimes gave me the impression that it was not a about worship, but going to war.

So this case may have one good result – to show the public what SGI is really about and in order to do so one does not have to warm up old yellow press articles. At first sight it may not be as dangerous as many other cults, its methods are subtle. A great number of long-time 'members' have chosen to leave on issues similar to the ones raised above.

Joel Katz said...

History 101, Part Three
(Learning From Despots of Times Past)

From the front page article of today's NY Times, Wednesday, April 22, 2009 entitled: "In Adopting Harsh Tactics, No Inquiry Into Past Use"

"The military training program, called SERE, for Survival, Evasion, Resistance and Escape, (begun by the Bush administration in 2002), had been created decades earlier to give American pilots and soldiers a sample of the torture methods used by Communists in the Korean War, methods that had wrung false confessions from Americans.

The top officials (C.I.A. director George J. Tenet) briefed did not learn that waterboarding had been prosecuted by the United States in war-crimes trials after World War II and was a well-documented favorite of despotic governments since the Spanish Inquisition; one waterboard used under Pol Pot was even on display at the genocide museum in Cambodia.

The process was “a perfect storm of ignorance and enthusiasm,” a former C.I.A. official said."


For a more more contemporaneous "in vivo" example of such a a despotic storm, come to the PS 24 "String 'Em High" Executive Committee Juggernaut this evening at 7.

Joel Katz said...

History 101
Part Four

United States Senate Historical Office
Statement of Senator Margaret Chase Smith
June 1, 1950

"Mr. President:

I would like to speak briefly and simply about a serious national condition. It is a national feeling of fear and frustration that could result in national suicide and the end of everything that we Americans hold dear...

I speak as a Republican, I speak as a woman. I speak as a United States Senator. I speak as an American.

The United States Senate has long enjoyed worldwide respect as the greatest deliberative body in the world. But recently that deliberative character has too often been debased to the level of a forum of hate and character assassination...

It is strange that we can verbally attack anyone else without restraint and with full protection and yet we hold ourselves above the same type of criticism...

I think that it is high time that we remembered; that the Constitution, as amended, speaks not only of the freedom of speech but also of trial by jury instead of trial by accusation.

Whether it be a criminal prosecution in court or a character prosecution in the Senate, there is little practical distinction when the life of a person has been ruined.

Those of us who shout the loudest about Americanism in making character assassinations are all too frequently those who, by our own words and acts, ignore some of the basic principles of Americanism --

The right to criticize;

The right to hold unpopular beliefs;

The right to protest;

The right of independent thought...

The exercise of these rights should not cost one single American citizen his reputation or his right to a livelihood nor should he be in danger of losing his reputation or livelihood merely because he happens to know some one who holds unpopular beliefs. Who of us doesn't? Otherwise none of us could call our souls our own. Otherwise thought control would have set in...

The American people are sick and tired of seeing innocent people smeared and guilty people whitewashed. But there (has been enough suspicion sowed) to cause nationwide distrust and strong suspicion that there may be something to the unproved, sensational accusations.


Today our country is being psychologically divided by the confusion and the suspicions that are bred...to spread like cancerous tentacles of "know nothing, suspect everything" attitudes... History is repeating itself

I don't want to see (the Republican Party) ride to political victory on the Four Horsemen of Calumny -- Fear, Ignorance, Bigotry and Smear.


As a United States Senator, I am not proud of the way in which the Senate has been made a publicity platform for irresponsible sensationalism. I am not proud of the reckless abandon in which unproved charges have been hurled from this side of the aisle...

I don't like the way the Senate has been made a rendezvous for vilification,..."

Submitted by this parent of three. Take it as you will.

"Those who cannot learn from history are doomed to repeat it."
George Santayana

Joel Katz said...

Tracy, Cori, Unjoo, et. al.:

Email sent 4/23/09:

PS 24 Executive Board Members:

Your hysterical crusade to vilify and oust Principal Scharper says worlds more about you than about him.

Why not search for your better selves, and work for progress? Find a way to let go of your livid rage for the greater good of our community.

Joel Katz

Anonymous said...

Joel,

Let's put aside for a moment your opinion of how the PA has conducted itself in this matter.

Can you say with even a tiny bit of conviction that Scharper has been a competent principal?

Joel Katz said...

I appreciate that last night's executive board meeting was open to all parents.

This gave me an opportunity to learn a great deal about leadership skills.

A parent said to Mr. Scharper:
"Everything that you said tonight was B.S. (trust me Riverdale, there were no abreviations used).

Another "leader" told Mr. Scharper that he was "damaged."

The most enlightening part of my evening was when the co-chair of the executive board, Tracy Shelton, danced in front of Mr. Scharper repeatedly, waved a list of demands, and ordered him to give her timetables for the resolution of her demands.

The co-chair also ridiculed him with grimaces and exasperated expressions while standing in front of him, and generally behaved like a bully in the schoolyard.

It was indeed a lot of leadership learning for me to take in at one setting, so I finally went home to digest it all. I shudder to think what principal the executive board will select next to exemplify their dream of a "strong leader."

Doctor heal thyself.

Kate Pastor said...

Hi,

I'd like to get an update on the most recent meeting with Mr. Scharper. Please contact me if you were there. My number is 718-543-6065 ext. 302, or e-mail kpastor@riverdalepress.com.

Best,

Kate Pastor
The Riverdale Press

Joel Katz said...

Just a guide for the PS24 Executive Committee, in case they forget what they're about:

Main Entry: slander

Part of Speech: noun
Definition: scandalous remark

Synonyms:
aspersion, backbiting*, backstabbing, belittlement, black eye*, calumny, defamation, depreciation, detraction, dirt*, dirty linen, disparagement, hit*, libel, lie, misrepresentation, muckraking, mud*, mud-slinging, obloquy, rap*, scandal, slam*, slime*, smear*, tale

Notes: libel (from Latin libellus 'little book') must be published,
while spoken defamatory remarks are slander;
libel first meant 'document, written statement'

slander is spoken defamation;
libel is written or visual or broadcast defamation

(From Thesaurus.Com)

Joel Katz said...

At last week's PA Meeting the board leadership tolerated and participated in a hate fest initiated by a very irate parent.

The parent charged, among other things, that Mr. Sharper reported her to ACS, and (initially) tried to have her arrested. The allegations were the essence of character assassination and slander by inunedo.

If this kind of personal attack is tolerated in our meetings, where will it end?

Should Mr. Scharper be endlessly excoriated for bullying in our school, when public education in this country has faced this problem for 350 years (since 1852 if we are looking at compulsory public education).

Lunch room aides have been bullying students from the exact same period of time. And "that man", as Mr. Scharper was repeatedly referred to by a parent, wasn't, so far as I know, even alive in the seventeenth century.

Is "that man" also responsible for the cloudy skies on this May morning, or does witch hunting not target medicine men?

Most New Yorkers voted for Obama. Obama is the controlling shareholder of Chrysler/Fiat.
Doesn't that make Mr. Scharper a probable Socialist?

As we anticipate the June PA fiasco, let's think of what else we can throw in the soup?

Who hired that crossing guard? Isn't she suspiciously friendly?

I'm making a list...

Joel Katz said...

I am deeply concerned about the newly revealed vulnerabilities of Pakistan's nuclear arsenal.

We need to investigate the relevant safety issues that could at this very moment be rendering our precious Riverdalilan children vulnerable to an attack from the sky.

When will Mr. Scharper weigh in?

What's up with this neverending reticence? We need leadership now. And an investigation. I'm shocked.

-----------------------------------

DEFAME

Roget’s II: The New Thesaurus, Third Edition.


VERB: To make defamatory statements about: asperse, backbite, calumniate, malign, slander, slur, tear down, traduce, vilify. Law : libel.
Idioms: cast aspersions on.

Joel Katz said...

True or False

The PS 24 executive board has been putting out false statements. Here are two:

1.
They have stated publicly that the allegation of "hate chanting", made to the DOE, was not made anonymously.
This is completely False.

2.
A parent and executive board member stated at the last PA meeting that an allegation by the parent against Mr. Scharper for "verbally abusing" her child is considered by DOE regulations to be "corporal punishment".
This is completely False.

My corrections can be referenced with exact quotes from the highest officials of the DOE.

The investigation of this charge has taken many weeks. This is standard operating procedure for the DOE Office of Investigations. They are understaffed. The length of time is not a reflection of any belief on the part of the DOE of the legitimacy of the complaint.

The boards' two misstatements might reasonably call into question other of their allegations.

As responsible and fair parents and human beings, we ought to carefully scrutinize the facts, as well as any secret agendas, that might inform the myriad allegations against Mr. Scharper.

Anonymous said...

I think these kinds of goings on are typical of over-privileged communities. Parents quite capable of paying for their children's education are unhappy about the free education they are getting at taxpayer expense in the best performing school in the county. Go figure.

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