PDA

View Full Version : Parents outraged after principal stalls Black History Month show


The Bobster
01-15-2017, 06:13 AM
http://nypost.com/2017/01/15/parents-outraged-after-principal-stalls-black-history-month-show/

Parents outraged after principal stalls Black History Month show
By Susan Edelman
January 15, 2017 | 6:28am

https://thenypost.files.wordpress.com/2017/01/bhm.jpg?quality=90&strip=all&w=664&h=441&crop=1
Students rehearse 'Magic of Motown' at PS 106, which has since been delayed. Shelly Whitfield


It’s a Black History blackout.

The principal of a Bronx elementary school has stalled plans to stage an extracurricular student show to celebrate Black History Mumpf in February — and angry parents allege racial bias.

Eugenia Montalvo, head of the 1,200-student Parkchester school with the motto “Where every child is a STAR :rolleyes:,” last week blocked teacher Shelly Whitfield-Spigner from holding auditions or even sending a flyer inviting students to take part.

The setback means time is running out to prepare her popular “Magic of Motown” show for next month, said Whitfield-Spigner, a city teacher for 30 years with a focus on literacy, arts and dance.

“Ms. Montalvo has been on a mission for years to delete the annual Black History Month celebration,” she told The Post. :rolleyes:

Every year, Whitfield-Spigner, who is black, pushes to put on the show. The principal does not approve overtime for the effort, so Whitfield-Spigner says she has devoted hundreds of hours after school without pay.

https://thenypost.files.wordpress.com/2017/01/dsc_4847_-1-a-1.jpg?quality=90&strip=all&w=664
Principal Eugenia Montalvo, front, pictured at a ‘Magic of Motown’ rehearsal.


Montalvo, who is Hispanic, has repeatedly delayed production and even canceled performances at the last minute, Whitfield-Spigner and parents said. Last year, the show was finally held in mid-March, with 100 kids in K-5 performing.

Montalvo blames space problems. The YMCA has a city-funded contract to run a free after-school program at PS 106. Montalvo gives that program use of the auditorium.

But the YMCA said it is happy to use classrooms and a large multipurpose area instead to accommodate the show if Montalvo says so.

“We haven’t received a formal request from the principal,” spokeswoman Ellen Murphy said Friday.

Last September, Montalvo brought in a second after-school program, Ultimate Enrichment, which charges parents up to $2.90 an hour. Director Michael Garcia also said his group is flexible: “It’s crowded, but we all work together.”

Uppity Whitfield-Spigner sent an e-mail to the principal last week saying, “Your consistent sabotage of this effort has a racial undertone :rolleyes:, and this is causing major problems in the learning environment.” :rolleyes:

Some parents agreed. “They sabotage her,” said Mona Davids, president of the NYC Parents Union, whose son recently attended the school. “They refuse to let her start the rehearsals. They throw roadblocks in the way to prevent her from organizing the show. They do not support Black History Month.”

Another African-American mom with a daughter in the school also voiced frustration. “We have to fight every year to get this program done. The children love it. They like to perform, and they have fun.”

Whitfield-Spigner has a pending lawsuit against Montalvo and the Department of Education charging discrimination and retaliation.

“The students are suffering because the principal has a personal agenda,” said her lawyer, Michael O’Neill.

Montalvo would not answer a call from The Post.

DOE spokesman Michael Aciman said the show has not been canceled. “The arts are a powerful tool for teaching and learning, and we encourage our schools to use them as a way of celebrating Black History Month,” he said.