Teachers suspended after making nasty comments about their scholars

Teachers suspended after making nasty comments about their scholars

CUMBERLAND – Teachers at Blackstone Valley Prep Mayoral Academy High School are coming under fire after administrators say they made “disrespectful and disparaging comments” about students and their families.

“We have suspended the alleged teachers pending a complete internal review into the matter,” said Jen LoPiccolo, director of external affairs at the school.

The comments, made on an “internal communication system,” were somehow leaked to students, who then showed them to their parents.

LoPiccolo said the comments came to light through an apparent hacking of the communication system. She would not confirm the identities of the teachers suspended or how many of them were involved.

The Breeze obtained screenshots of many of the comments made by the teachers.

• Bianca Caraza, a 9th-grade English teacher, responds to 10th-grade English teacher Everett Epstein telling her a student spelled “Ta-Nehisi Coates” wrong by calling the student a “f---ing idiot.”

• When 9th-grade math teacher Lindsey Allcock talks about a student being sly about taking his phone out and failing his classes, Caraza responds by calling him a “f---ing idiot.” She says that if he “f----“ up again he should be sent to her room, “and I will not be so pleasant.”

• Allcock calls a student a “dumb a--,” and so “d--- dumb” for not moving his seat. Another teacher, David Jose, then says the student “moved his seat in a “di--“ way.

• Caraza, responding to 10th-grade history teacher Steven Tedeschi’s comments about parents’ expectations for academics and behavior, tells him she wishes teachers could hit the parents. Tedeschi then tells her to move to Arizona, “start your own charter, and commence with the floggings.”

• Tedeschi calls the mom of the student made fun of for her misspelling “a loser,” adding that “clearly Columbia doesn’t provide access to parenting programs, or if they do, she didn’t take advantage.”

The father of that same student told The Breeze Monday that their family feels betrayed by the school.

“We are floored, we really are floored,” said Scout (full legal name). “It was unbelievable to us when we thought it was someone making up conversation, and it’s even more unbelievable that this was true and this was what they actually said.”

Scout said he got a text from Head of School Jonathan Santos Silva telling him the school was experiencing a “technology issue” and that staff were looking into what was believed to be a made-up conversation.

When Scout’s daughter subsequently saw of the teachers’ comments after they were distributed around the school, she was “devastated and very upset.”

Someone at the school also read a comment to the daughter purportedly from one of the teachers saying she wouldn't be able to get into the college of her choosing and calling her stupid. The comment was apparently deleted, and there is no available copy of it, said Scout, but it’s impact is lasting. His daughter was crying about the comment Monday night, he said.

The comment about college was especially troubling given the school’s emphasis on encouraging all students to go to college from an early age, said Scout.

Scout said he was forced to apologize to his daughter after not believing her earlier in the year when she complained about teachers’ treatment of her. He said he now believes every word.

The daughter, whose last day at the school was Tuesday, was already planning to go back to Lincoln public schools in the fall, said Scout.

In a letter to parents Monday, BVP Executive Director Jeremy Chiappetta acknowledged that the situation has hurt the school’s reputation.

“As an organization, we are deeply disappointed by what has taken place,” he said. “Moreover, as a parent of three BVP scholars, I am appalled and saddened that our reputation, built with care and sincerity by our board, nearly 200 staff members and 1,400 scholars and families, has been tarnished by a few individuals making disrespectful and highly insensitive comments. We have suspended several staff members pending the completion of our investigation.”

Blackstone Valley Prep Mayoral Academy High School opened at St. Joan Church’s former school in 2014 under the direction of Santos Silva, now 32.

Ninety students filled the freshman seats, followed last fall by a second group as freshmen moved up to 10th grade.

BV Prep leaders were hoping to remain at the St. Joan site for 10 more years but were advised by the Catholic Diocese of Providence last fall that just one more year would be allowed.

That prompted the governing board headed by Central Falls Mayor James Diossa to sign an agreement with Joseph Amaral to purchase and build at the former Fair hardware and lumber store in Valley Falls.

A 40,000-square-foot school, complete with all the needed amenities, is planned to open in the fall of 2017.

This year the high earned a commended ranking from the Rhode Island Department of Education based on 2015 standardized testing scores. It was the only high school on the prestigious list and one of 17 statewide.

Comments

If a student hacked into the teachers emails, this is a huge breach of privacy. Second, how could a sophomore know they didn't get into a college of their choice.
I personally know all these teachers and they are phenomenal. The staff is amazing and it sounds like disgruntled students and parents who wanted their 15 minutes.

The students can not be that stupid if they can hack into the schools email. Looks like the Teachers are the Stupid ones for leaving a paper trail.
Can the students hack into the School entire system and get the answers to all their test, or change there scores?
Looks like this is the tip of the iceburg.

If the emails are real this is very sad coming from teachers who should be teaching and nurturing our kids and setting good examples!! I, as a parent of a high school scholar am appalled at this. I was always amazed at the dedication and the caring of my scholars teachers from grade school up. If this is true, SHAME ON THE TEACHERS INVOLVED!! You don't deserve to teach anyone! We try to teach our kids to have values and this is what they get? Ridiculous! And if the system was hacked and these conversations were made up then whoever did this will pay the ultimate price. Can you say NATIONAL NEWS????!!!!!!!!

In case you've forgotten about the NEA's Code of Ethics, here is the website: www.nea.org. Let's treat human beings with dignity, shall we?

These are blatantly immature comments allegedly made by these teachers. I just can't believe the teachers would be that careless to use an internal system for this level of obscene discourse.
Let's wait to hear their side of the story, too many unanswered question.

I am still trying to figure out how the only high school in Rhode Island to garner a "commended" status from the RI Dep't. of Ed. got points for having a "graduation rate" in 2015 when the school had only ONE grade, i.e. Grade 9. The points for BVP's 2015 "graduation rate" (when there was no actual 2015 graduating class) were presumably used in calculating the highly-acclaimed "commended" designation. How can the algorithmic logic even recognize such a thing? Now this. SMH. Jeanne Ballou

The way the formula works for schools who do not have a graduating class is by tracking the number of students on-track towards graduation. In other words, what percentage of 9th graders have accumulated enough credit to advance to 10th grade.

I wonder what Dan McKee is thinking this morning of his wonderful Mayoral Academy. How unprofessional could they be? I understand about people needing to vent when they have had a tough day, but this goes way beyond the norm. This begins at the top. When professionalism is expected from the administrators, it trickles down to the teachers and then down to the students. Highest expectations of admin, staff and teachers is what one would expect from a charter school that was being touted as the saviors of our children. How's that working for you so far?

Blackstone Valley Prep is known for punishing the whole class because one kid misbehaves. Because their way of thinking is the class is a team. So, in that way of thinking all the teachers should be fired.

What the article doesn't mention is that all the teachers who took part in the conversations are current corps members or alumni of Teach For American - Rhode Island...interesting and ironic given what TFA's mission is (from teachforamerica.com: "By joining Teach For America, you join remarkable people from all backgrounds and professions who rise to the challenge to do what is right for kids.")

Frankie S. You wont hear Boo from Big Dan. He railroaded this charter school down the taxpayer's throat and destroyed the town to get where he is now. When is the last time anyone heard from Lt. Dan?(spoken in Forrest Gump manner)

This sounds more like the Trump Mayoral Academy.

The article doesn't say the age of these teachers but I'd bet they are girls, not woman, in their 20s, fresh out of school, living a teenage lifestyle...someone correct me if I'm wrong!!

The girls should be canned on the mere principle of the situation and to set an example for the other immature, young teachers in the school system. I know there are plenty of young, focused and passionate teachers but reality is that there are others who simply aren't as focused/mature...

Yeah this stuff is disgusting and impossible to defend but how about the fact that this school using our tax dollars is allowed to operate like a clandestine operation.

Why do we not have access to the financials, how much administration they have, what are they paid? How much are these teachers being paid?

Our taxes pay for it we should have this info.

Since Day #1 of the beginning of The Mayoral Academy we have had a We are better then Thou, over-the-top, obnoxious and egotistical use of the word Scholar to define and describe the students (1st-grade, Kindergarten, etc.) by this school's leadership, teachers and parents as to what these kids are...which they ARE NOT! Not even close to being!

Lets take a look at the word 'SCHOLAR' on a few Internet Websites, what it really means, and what is its proper usage!

Any other use, then those stated below is, in fact, an INSULT and it is also teaching these kids the wrong message as to who and what they are!

schol·ar
ˈskälər/

noun: scholar; plural noun: scholars

A specialist in a particular branch of study, especially the humanities; a distinguished academic.

"A Hebrew scholar"

Synonyms: academic, intellectual, learned person, man/woman of letters, mind, intellect, savant, polymath, highbrow, bluestocking; More authority, expert; informal = egghead

"A leading biblical scholar"

Archaic a person who is highly educated or has an aptitude for study.

Simple Definition of scholar - Source: Merriam-Webster's Learner's Dictionary

A person who has studied a subject for a long time and knows a lot about it : an intelligent and well-educated person who knows a particular subject very well.

Full Definition of scholar

A person who has done advanced study in a special field. IE: a very-learned person

And then there was this: "Scholars have long debated whether there is ever such a thing as a truly selfless act"!

Well, one thing for sure, there are no "Selfless Acts' among those that are setting this terrible example of what a scholar is with their search for Self-Glorification???