by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
The parents of two Queens students who say they were abused by their science teacher have joined a lawsuit to overturn New York’s tenure laws.
Laurie Townsend and Christine Grendeau — whose kids attend PS 101 in Forest Hills — became plaintiffs after the Department of Education sent Richard Parlini back to the school despite investigators finding he used corporal punishment.
“It’s an outrage,” said Townsend, whose son, Nakia, is a sixth-grader. “He’s afraid of [Parlini].”
She said that when Nakia was in second grade, Parlini pushed him.
“It’s crazy that he could get away with this and still teach,” she said.
Grendeau said Parlini teased her son, Leo Christopher Memoli, now a fourth-grader, about his stuttering in front of his classmates.
She said he made Leo write “um” numerous times to make fun of his impediment.
The DOE confirmed it substantiated claims of verbal abuse and corporal punishment against Parlini. He was fined $2,500 and attended a training course.
Campbell Brown, founder of the Partnership for Educational Justice, said, “These two cases make it crystal clear that New York state’s teacher-discipline system is in desperate need of an overhaul.”
As this forum has noted in the past, one of the best ways to improve public education is to ease the process of getting rid of the worst teachers.