Monday, November 22, 2010

Achievement First Charter School Parents Demand Disciplinary Reform

Press Release
Contact: Amelia Adams - (646) 250-5797

Achievement First Charter School Parents Demand Disciplinary Reform
Parents Cite Several Incidents in Schools and Detrimental Discipline Policies

Thirty parents rallied and attended the Achievement First Board meeting to call for a change to the charter school network’s discipline policies.

Parents were angered at the disciplinary actions taken against their children in Achievement First schools. Many students in the schools have had detention almost every day of the year and been suspended for infractions such as dropping a pencil, not making eye contact and “slouching.”

“These rules have to change. My son was called a “low-level criminal” because he initialed his name in the wrong location on a form. He was suspended and they made him wear a different color shirt for the rest of the day,” said Jasmine Crawford parent of an Achievement First student.

Parents felt that the disciplinary policies have had a very detrimental effect on students’ emotional states, even to the point where students talk about suicide.

“My son has threatened to walk out in the street and be run over by a car, instead of going to school,” said one Achievement First parent who did not want to be named publicly for fear of retribution on her son.

Parents were also very disturbed that Chi Tschang, who has a history of emotionally and physically abusing children, was brought in as Superintendent of their schools. Mr. Tschang had been reported in California to have put his hands on students and using harsh punishments like sitting out in extreme cold/sun for hours. Parents at Achievement First called for the removal of Mr. Tschang and requested to work with administration to implement a fair and transparent code of conduct.

Several parents delivered a letter (attached) to the Crown Heights AF principal and requested a meeting in regards to disciplinary policies on October 27th, but have yet to hear back.

Council Member Letitia James added her support for the parents, “When a large group of parents gather to voice their dissatisfaction with their children’s school policies, I listen. The parents of Achievement First Schools are my constituents, and therefore my first priority. Apparently, students are also sharing experiences of harsh punishments with others, specifically under the direction of the Superintendent of their schools. Today, I am calling for an immediate meeting to be held with the Crown Heights Achievement First principal to discuss disciplinary policies and make necessary adjustments that are agreed upon by all parties.”

When: Monday, November 22nd at 5:30pm
Where: Achievement First Endeavor - 510 Waverly Ave. in Brooklyn
Who: Achievement First Parents, NYCC, elected officials and community members


Anonymous said...

Wow can you post some update on this?

Being a parent who recently received an acceptance for 1st grade...this really makes me weary!

Aja Worthy-Davis said...

Achievement First has the guardians of accepted students review and sign contracts with the specific standards and expectations laid-out. We'd advise that you carefully review this information to make sure that this disciplinary environment is the right thing for your child.

Our office has a great relationship with the school, and CM James supports their educational goals fully. Good luck!

Jonathan Temple said...

It has been my experience that discipline policies do not spell out the specifics such as children being forced to sit on the floor and earn the right to sit at their desk or earn the right to use the bathroom or be forced to stand in the middle of the classroom for 80 minutes to be made an example of for some infraction. Some of the treatment of these kids should be considered a violation of human rights and be investigated. What is the end result of a learning environment based on fear and punishment?

Anonymous said...

Two years later and nothing yet has been done about Achievement first RIDICULOUS discinplinary policies. As a matter of fact they have gotten worse. As of today Aug.2012 one of their newest rule is if a student obtain west wing (detention) the childs parent must come sit inside the classroom with the child/student. Im wondering how does this help working parents like myself..