Parents Complain of Bizarre Situation at Fairmount Elementary School

A strange situation at Bache-Martin School in Fairmount: The principal left, and students have been sent to other grades for months as punishments.

The Daily News’s William Bender and Solomon Leach report today on the strange situation at Bache-Martin Elementary in Fairmount. The list of strange ongoings they detail is long enough it needs to be broken out a little in bullet-point format.

  • Students were punished by being sent to other classrooms. An eighth grader spent two months in a first-grade class.
  • When a fifth-grade teacher went on disability, the class was simply disbanded — with students being sent to other grades and classrooms. A fifth-grader spent two weeks in a first-grade classroom, even going on a class trip with them.
  • Bache-Martin’s principal, Yvette Duperon, left in December to work on her dissertation. She had been at the school since 2008.
  • Her replacement, Ogo Okoye-Johnson, was supposed to be principal of Bartram High in Southwest Philly this year — but was removed for unknown reasons nine days into the school year. (Presumably someone knows the reasons.)
  • Students who prank-called a teacher were suspended and made parents sign a “13-point contract” that banned them from being on school property “including sidewalks” after 3:09 p.m., going “anywhere near” certain classrooms or the gym and eating breakfast in the lunchroom near the classroom of a teacher they’d prank called. The students would also not be allowed back next year.
  • Other parents signed the 13-point contract, too, only to be told later by a district official later that the contracts were deemed a violation of student rights and were deemed null and void.

Yikes! Bender and Leach couldn’t get many answers from the school district, at least not yet. What makes this story extra strange — and infuriating — is that Bache-Martin has consistently outperformed the district average on state achievement tests despite having a student body that is 85 percent economically disadvantaged.

[Daily News]