Here she is!
Ozone Park, Queens, N.Y.
Some disturbing news from the childhood home of Jimmy Breslin. A public school, P.S. 63, attended by children ranging in ages from 5 to 12, has recently experienced a case of the deadly strain meningitis in a kindergarten student last Thursday. The school dutifully sent letters with this pertinent information, along with symptoms to watch out for, to parents of the kids who go there which they all collectively received.
This is quite disturbing. Mostly because nobody knows when this child was diagnosed or when she actually contracted the disease. More disturbing and off-putting is that the school with this crucial info, decided to send letters through the mail instead of contacting the families by email or instant messaging.
But most disturbing is the rarity of the presence of this disease, which according to the department of health and hygiene, only shows up a few times a year. And now it’s happened in a big school and in a very populous area in Southeast Queens. Naturally, the residents must be heavily concerned and are deserving of more information and proactive measures by officials.
But this is just par for the course and business as usual under the auspices of the regaled but elusive chancellor of the DOE, Ms. Carmen Farina.
This is a hard woman to find. Especially in the past year, or maybe even the past 3 months as schools have seen other current health threats, ominous, existential and just plain disgusting.
In Manhattan, PS/IS 217, water level toxicity was found in the locker room the amount of poison in the water in the Flint, Michigan criminal transference of filtration systems to cut costs. The weight room faucets actually released toxicity levels over 200 times the amount found in the locker faucets, and 120 times the amount in Flint. Fortunately, it was non-drinking, but some water does get ingested while washing off in the shower.
Being that the Flint scandal made national and international news, all borough presidents made themselves useful and all wrote a strongly worded memo a month ago to take immediate action after a study in late January found that 9% of faucets checked had lead levels over the 15 parts per billion danger level.
Since it wasn’t from a drinking fountain, the chancellor reportedly did not answer. 9% isn’t that big an estimate to warrant attention apparently either.
Then there is the cuisine at Stuyvesant High School, 6 blocks west of City Hall. Words alone cannot illustrate the vileness of the food and the blatant negligence of the B.O.E, led by Chancellor Farina.
CBS2 Political Reporter Marcia Kramer was demanding answers Tuesday.
Students at Stuyvesant High School, 345 Chambers St., were ordering lunch at a nearby deli Tuesday because, they said, the cafeteria food was a little funky.
The students were even more determined to avoid eating in after CBS2’s Kramer showed them pictures of items that until a few weeks ago were cafeteria staples.
Pizza and chicken have been pulled from school cafeterias because of contamination such as nails found inside chicken fingers. And this was not an isolated incident.
Although it was difficult getting information from the fortress-like Department of Education, a whistleblower provided CBS2 with disturbing pictures. The pizza appeared to have green mold on it, while the chicken tenders had pieces of metal.
Saying, “The safety and well-being of students always comes first, the Department of Education stopped serving the pizza a week ago, and the chicken two weeks before that.
But that is not the whole story.
Sources claim that between Feb. 17 and March 13, there were reportedly four complaints about the pizza from schools across the city. The chicken tenders are even more problematic – a sources said last September that bones were found four times.
A school cafeteria worker choked on a bone, requiring a Heimlich maneuver.
Sources said the chicken tenders were removed from the menu temporarily. The Department of Education admitted that its solution was to have the tenders X-rayed for bones.
Tenders were apparently back on the menu in January, and the pieces of metal started turning up in February.
CBS2’s Kramer has been demanding answers from the Department of Education for about a week, and she said it has not been easy. The department did not have answers for simple questions such as whether parents had been notified about tainted food.
A spokesman said, “I’ll have to get back to you on that one,” Kramer reported.
A day later, Mayor De
Blasio Faustio addressed this repulsive health hazard, reportedly he did so furiously.
But as naturally inclined, the teflon mayor, as with other pressing issues that once dogged him, like illegal fundraising, pay to play governing, and the bigoted murder of a poor man on the street, he still claims ignorance and obfuscates.
Kramer: “Why were the parents not informed? Where is the transparency?”
De Blasio: “I don’t know enough about what they’ve told parents.”
On Tuesday, Kramer asked a spokeswoman for schools Chancellor Carmen Fariña if the parents were notified. Spokeswoman Toya Holness replied, “I’ll have to get back to you on that one.”
But the Department of Education did not comment further at the time, so Kramer pressed the mayor for an answer.
“If they haven’t informed parents enough, we want them to right away, so I’ll certainly direct DOE to be very, very clear,” de Blasio said.
Kramer also asked the mayor about why the department that served meals to 1.1 million students did not fire the supplier immediately.
“I don’t know the facts,” de Blasio said. “I’ll need to get the facts from the DOE, and then I’ll happily comment.”
Meanwhile, after two days, the Department of Education finally responded Wednesday afternoon to Kramer’s question about whether parents were told about the contaminated food. The answer was no, they were not, but the department was planning to notify them.
“We are sending information to schools to share with families,” the DOE spokeswoman said.
Kramer has not heard back after asking when the information would be sent to parents.
The only information gathered here is that the DOE seems to have 2 spokeswomen, because the first one is identified and the second one is not. And Chancellor Farina cannot be found.
Actually, just last week, Chancellor Farina surfaced and spoke when there was inquiries about investigations on certain yeshiva schools not devoting classes to secular studies. Investigations approaching 2 years
Schools Chancellor Carmen Fariña on Tuesday strongly denied claims that the city is dragging out a probe of yeshivas so as not to upset the politically powerful Brooklyn Hasidic community.
As The Post reported, advocates say dozens of the religious schools aren’t teaching secular studies, as required by state law — and they charge Mayor de Blasio with turning a blind eye.
“[Politics] has not even entered our minds,” Fariña told reporters at City Hall after testifying at a hearing on the new city budget. “This is not politically motivated. I didn’t take this job to do a political job. I took this job to do an educational job.”
She said the probe has entered its 19th month because the issue is complicated — including witnesses testifying about the education they received as long as 20 years ago.
It’s not clear why the DOE is interviewing students who are that far removed from graduation.
Fariña also noted that “there are a lot of people very happy with these schools.”
So she deigns to address the press and the public to provide sanctuary for her boss’s debt to a minority yet powerful sect of the Orthodox Hasidic communities. But she notices that people seem happy there, for they don’t shower with lead tainted water and dine on vantablack pizza and metal studded chicken cutlets
And then she was gone again.
This is quite eccentric behavior from someone tasked specifically to look out for the interests and education of children and young adults. Yet it’s not at all abnormal when cognitive dissonance, gaslighting and plausible deniability are the default methods utilized when dealing with issues of public interest in this city and state. Which is what you get when 76% don’t show up to vote and the victor gets to appoint his circle of well-meaning but incompetent friends to cabinet posts.
Is this really what kids these days, who are not self-absorbed and distracted, should be learning. Or should they embrace cynicism as early as Pre-K in the government process and shoddy deployment of services displayed by these elected and appointed hacks.
Chancellor Carmen Farina is still not available for comment.
Editor’s Note: The headline was inspired by the children’s cartoon, “Where in the world is Carmen Santiago”. But because of lack of skills and the lack of Photoshop, I couldn’t post an appropriate or relevant rendition.
Update: Marcia Kramer found the Chancellor. But not without being initially oppressed from doing her job as a journalist.