07/15/2010 // West Palm Beach, FL, USA // Tara Monks // Tara Monks
New York, NY – A New York City schoolteacher who chaperoned the beach trip to Long Beach that resulted in a girl drowning on June 22, 2010 will be fired, and the school’s vice-principal and principal will be demoted and put on probation, as reported by USA Today. The City Department of Education made the announcement on the fate of the Columbia Secondary School for Math, Science and Engineering staff on Wednesday, July 14, 2010.
The decision comes after the department’s special commissioner of investigation found that parents never signed waivers for the fatal beach trip. According to the report, teacher Erin Bailey also did not notice the signs that said “No lifeguard on duty.”
The beach had not opened yet for tourist season.
Nicole Suriel, 12, was one of the 24 students on the trip to Long Beach, a popular Long Island spot. The students were chaperoned by only three adults, including Bailey, a first-year teacher, Bailey’s boyfriend, a former city schoolteacher, and a college intern.
The investigation also found that the chaperones’ only mode for safety was to warn the children not to venture too far in the ocean. Nicole Suriel was still, unfortunately, pulled out to sea by a rip tide and drowned. Nicole’s family told investigators she could not swim.
The report also faulted principal Jose Maldonado-Rivera and assistant principal Andrew Stillman, citing poor planning. The report accuses Stillman of sending an email to parents that said, “We’re headed to the beach tomorrow,” rather than distributing permission slips.
The report declared, “a failure to provide a sufficient number of adults to supervise the children at the beach and poor judgment by the teacher in charge who either failed to realize that there were no lifeguards on duty or failed to recognize the additional danger presented by their absence.”
The Department of Education will seek to place Maldonado-Rivera on probation for two years. Because he has tenure, he has the option to request a disciplinary hearing.
The president of the council of School Supervisors and Administrators, which rpresents Maldonado-Rivera and Stillman, said he supports the disciplinary actions.
Address: Long Beach, New York
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