By Victoria Merlino
Following a chaotic Department of Education town hall meeting in Bayside earlier this month, Northeast Queens lawmakers have sent a letter to Schools Chancellor Richard Carranza calling for a public meeting on school safety.
M.S. 158, known as Marie Curie Middle School, has been the subject of intense scrutiny following reports of student fights and an eighth-grade girl being sexually harassed by a fellow student. The school, regarded for academic excellence, is located in District 26.
Carranza and the DOE abruptly ended the Jan. 16 town hall after the parent of the student who was sexually harassed confronted Carranza, according to QNS.com, and the crowd began to yell at Carranza. A DOE spokesperson later told the outlet that they ended the town hall after it became clear that they were going to be unable to have a “productive conversation” with residents.
State Sen. John Liu, U.S. Rep. Grace Meng, Assemblymembers Edward Braunstein and Nily Rozic, and Councilmembers Barry Grodenchik, Peter Koo and Paul Vallone all signed on to the letter.
“At the January 16, 2020 District 26 town hall, you left the event early when confronted with questions about school safety: specifically, the ongoing issues at MS 158,” the letter reads. “This lack of response has left our community frustrated and upset, and frankly, it is inconceivable that these important questions about safety were not addressed at all.”
“Our students, parents, and teachers deserve to know how the Department of Education is handling this problem, and furthermore, the Department of Education should listen to and respond to feedback from the community affected by these serious issues,” the lawmakers continued.
The officials offered to help facilitate an evening public meeting. The DOE did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
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