Child Safety Concerns At PS 146
Dear Editor. Thank you for taking my call this afternoon, the issue I wish to bring to light is simple, PS 146 (968 Cauldwell Avenue, Bronx, NY 10456) proved to have a security flaw - it has taken my having to involve the Bronx Boro President Office (Jesse Mojica) and City Councilman Vacca's office (Jennifer Rivera) to get the school principal to see the issue for what it is.
I have meet with the principal Mrs. Sanderson-Brown, Mr. MacDonald (Bronx Regional Leader), and parent coordinator today in hopes to ensure and establish safety at PS 146, and address the occurrence report failure to note the key person in the matter, Mrs. Brenda Smith (our guardian angel). The facts are as follows:
Xavier's lunch/recess period is from 10:50a - 11:40a (appxly)
11/16/09: after lunch Xavier (5 yrs old), Xavier realized that he had forgotten his lunch bag. At which time he stated so to the teacher (Mrs. McKenzie) he was with for the day, because his class went out on a trip he did not attend. Xavier said to Mrs. McKenzie, I left my lunch-bag, can I go get it. Mrs. McKenzie said, yes go ahead. Xavier proceeded to retrieve his lunch bag, which according to his recollection was at the court yard steps, where he had set the bag at during recess. Xavier utilized exit 7 of PS 146 (which leads out to Trinity Avenue), the exit used daily to let the kids out for recess... He went to the steps and found the bag was gone. He returned to exit 7, and found he had been LOCKED OUT. Xavier yelled, kick and banged on the door, but no one came to his aide. Xavier was crying and afraid, ran to two other exits 5 & 4, repeated the same but to no avail, no one came to his aide.
A stranger, now known to me as Mrs. Brenda Smith saw Xavier banging on the doors, crying and aided him. She called Xavier over, and helped him to a Crossing Guard, known to me as Crossing Guard Cindy. Cindy walked Xavier back to the school entrance and confirmed he is a student there, by speaking with the School Safety Officer Mrs. Cruz. Cindy told Mrs. Cruz that a women saw Xavier alone crying for help in the school yard and brought Xavier to her for help. Mrs. Brenda Smith, came into the school, as she was outraged that such a small, young child was outside alone, demanded to speak with the principal, but was rejected and told the principal would not see her.
11/17/09: I go the the school to met with the principal, Mrs. Sanderson-Brown, and discuss how this can be prevented from happening again. Exit #7 has an alarm which was de-activated for recess use, but not re-activated when recess was over. No one was monitoring the unsecured exit during the time that the alarm was intentionally turned-off.
Mrs. Sanderson-Brown, was hostile to me and made unnecessary comments and rejected the request to take preventative measures, which by my suggestion was as simple as turning the key to turn the door alarm back on when the yard is not in use. I was outraged to hear her refusal to accept accountability and blaming my 5 year old son for getting locked out of the school. I said, Xavier should not have been able to open that Exit without the school becoming ware of the fact, an alarm should have gone off. Xavier was out there for an unknown time frame, which she still can not confirm. Xavier could have been kidnapped, molested, killed, thank God that it was a kind and honorable woman that came to his aide, but the results could have been devastating. This should be preventing from happening again as the outcome is unpredictable, in a community with 120 sex offenders. Furious at the fact that she wasn't addressing the matter, I pulled Xavier out of school until someone would make her take the safety of all students at PS 146 and the students at the Charter School located thereat as a #1 priority. Just as Xavier opened the door, any other child could do the same, maybe the other child would not be so lucky. What if there is a lurker hanging by the door, and coincidentally a child opens the door, lord knows what could happen. It is a safety situation that can be corrected simply by re-alarming the Exit door or having a person man the Exit door.
12/2/09 - It took getting the Boro President & City Councilman Vacca's office whom have thus far been of great help, were able to involve the DOE Regional Leaders involved and address the principal on the safety issue. Which still hasn't been confirmed to be secured, following today's meeting 12/2/09. At said meeting I addressed the fact that the incident report does not reflect the vital fact that Mrs. Brenda Smith was the one that found Xavier and aided him to Crossing Guard Cindy. She rejected my informing her of such saying, no, I don't know about that, no one told me about that, etc. Refusing to take the name of the key, vital witness, Mrs. Smith. Principal Sanderson refused the information, and didn't interview Crossing Guard Cindy, nor her own School Safety Officer Ms. Cruz. I find it bewildering to hear a principal turn a blind-eye and deaf-ear to something so vital, how many other occurrences has she done this to. How can she be entrusted to provide true, honest, and safe leadership? How?
She said "I just want this to be over, and move on". How do I move-on when the facts and investigation are ignored? I need to see accountability for the safety of all children at the school located at 968 Cauldwell Avenue, Bronx, NY 10456. I need the occurrence report to reflect all the facts of the occurrence not just what Principal Sanderson wants because the other information might reflect poorly onto her requirement to act in a "IN LOCO PARENTIS" capacity. Which should not hold precedence over facts.
Jessica E. Rosario
Concerned Parent - Advocating for Safety
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