Bronx Parent Says Her Children's Principal Retaliated Against Her When She Complained About Her Sons' Education

A Bronx parent says she's been retaliated against, all because she's complained about her children's principal. Borough reporter Erin Clarke has that story.

Iris Rosario says it has been a tough few years for her family since Ralph Martinez became the principal of PS 89 in the Bronx.

"I don't go to parent teacher conferences for my kid," Rosario said. "I don't go to my kids' shows. It's very sad."

Since Martinez came on board in 2010, Nearly a hundred teachers have been reassigned or dismissed. Some currently going through legal proceedings.

"Of Ninety teachers, six have been brought up on termination," said Prancesco Portelos, a candidate to run the teachers' union. "If you're on his side you get the perks. If you don't you get targeted."

Rosario claims the high turnover has affected students.

She sought an administrative hearing with the Department of Education claiming PS 89 didn't meet the special education needs of her sons Dallas and Brandon Colon.

Both boys went without speech and other services for months.

Dallas was misidentified as a general education student and put in a classroom with one teacher when there should have been two.

"Being in the wrong classroom when you're constantly distracted, he could not focus," said Allison Landwehr Moshel, attorney for Rosario. "He was in a classroom that was far larger which certainly was causing a host of issues for him not only educationally."

DOE settled Brandon's case, and Dallas' was decided in Rosario's favor. She was awarded 810 hours of free tutoring for both boys — services that are valued at $800,000 dollars.

But Rosario says problems at the school persist and teachers aren't the only ones being shut out for speaking up.

"This is a principal who's a bully," said Rosario.

Rosario claims that after raising complaints, she got a letter from the DOE barring her from entering PS 89 for a year. It alleged she threatened to blow up the school.

She was also notified that the city's Administration for Children's' Services had begun investigating her. She says the accusations are false — and believes they were made as a form of retaliation.

"When I walk into the school I gotta walk in recording because I'm afraid," Rosario said.

In March, Rosario joined others citing these issues and calling for Martinez's removal.

We reached out to Martinez for comment and were directed to the DOE.

The department says it is investigating.

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