Principal Good For Community
A copy of the following letter was received
by the Gazette.
NYC Department of Education
Office of The Chancellor
Attn: Joel I. Klein, Chancellor
52 Chambers Street
New York, NY 10007
Dear Chancellor Klein,
We, the undersigned, as duly elected representatives of the Southeast Queens community, are respectfully submitting this memo regarding a matter of grave concern to our mutual constituents. It has come to our attention that DOE has recently removed Mr. Shango Blake as principal of Intermediate School 109 and is seeking his termination, as per the recommendation of a report by the Special Commissioner of Investigation.
Principal Blake, during his tenure as the educational leader of I.S. 109, has performed exemplary work and demonstrated extraordinary leadership in turning around a notoriously under-performing school. He has earned the support of parents, students, faculty and community leaders with his emphasis on educational achievement, tough love and community service. Principal Blake is exactly the type of educator that our school system needs.
The charges laid forth in the Commissioner's report are, at best, inconclusive. We believe that the allegation of misappropriated school funding was clearly an unintentional mismanagement of funds, which the report itself acknowledges that Principal Blake neither personally profited from this error nor sought to engage in any criminal malfeasance.
With respect to the matter of the alleged corporal punishment of a student, the Commissioner's report and investigation is rooted in inconsistent and faulty conclusions. We are all adamantly opposed to the abuse of any child and as such, we believe that this is a matter that should have been reported to and investigated by the district attorney's office of Queens. Such investigations are best left in the hands of professionals who are experienced in interviewing witnesses and corroborating evidence. We need only look to the case of Brooklyn school janitor Francis Evelyn- falsely accused and arrested of a crime only to be exonerated by the Brooklyn district attorney shortly thereafter. In the matter of Shango Blake, the Department of Education should have immediately notified and referred the case to the Queens D.A.
It is our belief that this investigation has been a matter of gross misconduct by the Special Commissioner of Investigation and that Principal Blake has been denied his constitutional right to due process. We stand firmly behind the belief that Principal Shango Blake has been unfairly targeted and should be immediately reinstated as principal of I.S.109. To delay his reinstatement would send the message that our city's educators are being held to an unfair and unjust standard which would only impede the successful progress we all, as stakeholders, want to see for our city's children. Sincerely, Leroy Comrie Deputy Majority Leader Councilmember, 27th District et al.