The Principal of Marie Curie Middle School, which early this year came under scrutiny due to safety concerns after video of a vicious beating by one teenage girl of another in the school cafeteria went viral, has been removed, according to the Department of Education.
Henry Schandel served as M.S. 158’s Principal for four years. In January, the Bayside school’s safety came into question grew after a video filmed in the cafeteria showed a 14-year-old female student jumping from a table onto a 13-year-old girl, kicking and punching her while other students cheered wildly. Katty Sterling, the mother of the girl who was beaten, said that her daughter’s attacker was arrested but never suspended.
Concealed Sex Assault
In a separate incident, the parents of an eighth-grade girl at the school said that administrators failed to inform them that she was being sexually harassed by a male student until he physical assaulted her, which led to his arrest.
Teachers at the school reported low morale and concerns over discipline—in a school climate survey, just 52 percent believed that Mr. Schandel had a clear vision for the school.
Further outrage was stirred after Schools Chancellor Richard Carranza walked out of a town hall meeting for District 26 last Jan. 16 where about 500 parents and educators—including Ms. Sterling—tried to raise their concerns.
It was only after defiantly claiming that the angered parents at the hearing were “grandstanding” and then getting into social-media feuds with elected officials over the issue that Mr. Carranza finally apologized to the affected families.
The DOE declined to say why it decided to remove Mr. Schandel, who will be working as an Assistant Principal at another school.
Successor a Crisis Specialist
It stated that Peter McHugh, who has worked as an educator for 20 years, became Marie Curie’s Interim Acting Principal Sept. 1. He previously served as the Guidance Manager/Climate and Culture Manager at the Queens North Borough Office, where he worked to provide staff with professional development in crisis intervention and social-emotional education.
Mr. McHugh stated that the young people of Queens “went through so much these past few months and I will support Marie Curie in being a place of safety, structure, and rigorous learning. As a former District 26 parent myself, nothing is more important to me than providing a learning environment that uplifts our students and prepares them for their next steps in life.”
District 26 Superintendent Danielle Giunta said that Mr. McHugh would be an “invaluable resource in providing care and support for students recovering from trauma.”
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