Monday, June 08, 2015


School reform has led to a major increase in the number of new schools created since the Bloomberg era.  Jamaica High School was one school that was phased out and now the building that once was Jamaica houses four small schools.  Evidence continues to build that the Department of Education did not improve the overall education in the building when they closed Jamaica.

Carlos Borrero is one of the Bloomberg era principals who was appointed to run the High School for Community Service, one of the four new schools that took over the Jamaica High School building. The New York Post reported on Saturday that Mr. Borrero has been named in a major lawsuit. Some details:

A Queens Principal allegedly dangled a strip club jaunt to a group of students in 2012 if they focused on their schoolwork, according to a Brooklyn federal suit.

The allegation is part of a civil lawsuit from a former staffer at the High School For Community Leadership in Jamaica who claims it was part of a pattern of behavior in which principal Carlos Borrero also encouraged her to wear provocative clothes in order to command attention from her charges.

Stacey Long claims she refused to play ball and that she was eventually forced to resign as a literacy teacher, court papers state.

While this is just an allegation that needs to be proven in court, nobody who was at Jamaica the last four years is very surprised by this.  In my dealings with Principal Borrero, I found him to be rather averse to following the rules although my business with him concerned completely different matters when compared to the lawsuit.

Back in 2011, he decided that his kids didn't need to walk to the student restroom so he just had them use the third floor teacher's restroom instead.  Some Jamaica High School teachers, who at the time still worked on a portion of the third floor where Borrero's school is housed, complained so we filed a safety grievance. In response, Mr. Borrero refused to meet with us.  I remember him hiding and only agreeing to talk to a Special Representative from the Queens UFT office.

We easily won the grievance but in subsequent years when we had grievances over athletics in the building and had to go to Mr. Borrero who was in charge of Public School Athletic League activities, I sensed he was not looking to resolve situations amicably.  Some of the teachers from his school came down to the Jamaica High School UFT office looking for union assistance for non athletic matters too. To be fair, I do recall he ran a very good pep rally that enhanced school spirit. My guess is he has his supporters.

Yet a staffer who is still working in the Jamaica building got in touch with me Saturday to say that if it was a teacher who was charged for doing what Mr. Borrero allegedly did regarding the strip club, the teacher would have been removed from the building faster than the blink of an eye.  That is exactly what happened last year when a teacher from the Hillside Arts and Letters Academy (another new school in the Jamaica building) was caught in an internet sex sting.  He was removed from the building immediately and a plea deal was struck this year.

We completely agree that the serious charges warranted severe action since the DOE is supposed to have a zero tolerance policy for any sexual misconduct but it appears administrators are held to a much lower standard than teachers. The blogger Chaz has written extensively about the DOE double standard when disciplining administrators compared to teachers.  One thing the two incidents have in common was they both involved DOE employees who worked at the building that was once Jamaica High School.

There have been other occurrences at the Jamaica campus showing that the DOE has done nothing to improve the climate in the building after they decided to phase out Jamaica High School.  At another new school in the building, Queens Collegiate, there was a release of pepper spray by students back in 2013.  It happened again this year causing a dozen students to be sent to the hospital. There was also the lockdown of the building this past winter because of alleged intruders who turned out to be students sneaking into the school.  Funny how the media still attributed this problem to Jamaica High School even though the school no longer exists.

I could go on and on writing about other incidents Jamaica staff witnessed before we were exiled from the building that never made it to the media but I think readers get the point.

A record is mounting showing that the four new schools that replaced Jamaica High School are no better than the traditional Jamaica High School.  I will repeat what I said in January that the building is actually worse off as four schools compared to one.  Saturday's NY Post story on Principal Borrero is just another piece of evidence substantiating that claim.

It is time for the DOE to restart comprehensive neighborhood high schools.  Jamaica should have never been closed nor should have many others.  If justice ever returns to our school system, Jamaica will be one of the first to be reborn.


Anonymous said...

From SJR: Amen, James. Where is the press when it comes to the many subpar/failing small schools across the city? This is what I wonder as I read the details about (the former) Jamaica High School. Similarly, the "credit-recovery" mill aka the former Franklin K. Lane High School continues to cost the tax payers FIVE TIMES the administrative fees for results that are WORSE than when it was one school. I'm guessing that, years down the road, some mayoral candidate will come along and point out how he can save the taxpayers money by eradicating the mini-schools. Then, and only then, if fiscal matters become dire, will the nanny-state small schools be gone. But NYC should be OK for a while. In fact, Mulgrew saw to it that the city should save money. What a great job he did.

Anonymous said...

I hope the truth comes out that comprehensive high schools did a far better job in servicing students and being a bedrock to the local community than the small schools that replaced them. It is insulting that administrators with only boot camp training are in charge of schools. Unfortunately many of them are turning out to be bullies themselves. There is no room in public education for incompetent, corrupt and unethical administrators supervising teachers and working with children.

BKNY Teach18 said...

I can speak about Principal Borrero from my own experience with him. I was a coach of a team at what was then Jamaica HS. Mr. Borrero just became Principal as was put in charge of sports. Now why was he in charge of PSAL with no background in sports, another DOE blunder. I was hired to coach a JV Fall Team. I was doing fine, had the support of the Varsity coach for the same sport until I didn't do something that the Varsity Coach liked. I would videotape the Varsity games and copy the game onto a DVD. I was using my equipment, my dvd's. When I ran out I asked the coach to purchase more for me. He purchases CDs instead of DVDs. Varsity coach shows up before my game asking for the DVD to last game. I tell him he gave me Cds, I need DVDs. He gets mad at me and starts yelling/cussing at me in front of my players. Very unprofessional! I walk away from him. He comes by me a second time and I defend myself telling him he is way outta line! After the incident, I ask my Principal of the school that I teach at what should I do? My Principal friend told me to report to Principal Borrero. Well I did! I emailed him and told him of the incident. He asked me how he should handle it? SMH. Yes, he did say that to me. I told him that the Varsity Coach shouldn't speak to another adult like that. Very unprofessional and quite frankly, I was ready to beat that Varsity Coach's Ass! Principal Borrero wanted to have a meeting that never happened. Because I traveled to Jamaica HS, he claims to have waited for me at the field house one afternoon but I didn't arrive yet. Also, my players were unsupervised because Varsity coach who used to watch them before I arrive stop watching JV for me after argument. I asked the players, even some of them that attended his school if he was on the field or at the field house and their answer was NO! So like I thought he lied. He never, Never addressed the argument with the Varsity Coach and he tried to have AD give me a "u" rating. The AD refused based on having no write ups. Then I realized that the Varsity Coach and Principal were working together against me. Well, I only stayed that season but the horrible Varsity Coach is still there. So is the Principal. I coach another sport before taking the Jamaica job, so I kept and still coach there now. I was lucky to land on my feet. However, someone else may not be as lucky! This is an precautionary tale for anyone looking to coach in PSAL.

Anonymous said...

I can speak about him too. I was one of the women that he blocked from using the teacher's bathroom while he let his students use it!! He stood and guarded them. I get when you are an incompetent administrator who is way out of your league you become a bully.

Anonymous said...

Bring back Walter Ackem, ex-principal for Jamaica..... that 300 lb., sweat suit wearing, tape recording turd really knew how to play the game!

Anonymous said...

What is there to say? A dismantled high school, with years of tradition and love, has been replaced by four mini schools that are failing. Now 4 principal salaries wasted at the expense of children. What a fine role model Borrero is.

James Eterno said...

Hey SJR. Nice to hear from you.

Anonymous said...

Your all shoveling you know what against the wind. The NYCBE has and always will be incompetent and irrational. You cant teach a pig to sing. All you do is waste your time and piss the pig off. I haven't met a principal yet that wasn't mentally ill. From Jay Fidler who played his fiddle or rather the stock market from his office to Barbara Pleener who played with the Male Phys Ed staff. there is something in the water down at the B of Ed

Anonymous said...

It sounds like sour grapes to me. I think that quite a few of the teachers at the former Jamaica High School got too comfortable in their positions and let lapsed what the mission educate. All schools have their issues, but when you put yourselves ahead of those who need your guidance, well you will get asked to leave, plain and simple. And if any of those 4 schools at the campus fail in their mission...they should be asked to leave as well...