On June 18, the New York Post reported that a teacher at a New York City high school is in danger of being fired after speaking out about misconduct. Mark Paperno, a science teacher, sued the NY Department of Education (DOE) and the principal of the High School for Youth and Community Development in Flatbush.
Paperno alleges that during his time teaching at the high school, “he stopped paraprofessionals from providing excessive assistance to students with disabilities” who were taking an exam. Additionally, he not only observed school staff members mistreating students with disabilities but also struggled with his responsibilities due to specialist understaffing. “Department of Education regulations require the presence of a general education as well as a special education specialist in these settings .” Still, Paperno’s special education partner for his class had not been there since the school year had begun. He had tried multiple times to get in contact with the principal, Marie Prendergast, but she did not take action to staff the classes adequately.
Paperno’s complaints reached the DOE, and the school was then “forced to address the issues” that his disclosures brought up. Prendergast later recommended the DOE fire Paperno, despite a history of positive reviews. Paperno’s lawyer says that this action counts as whistleblower retaliation.