Parents call PS 207 unsafe

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Update appended.

Allegations of kindergartners coming home with bruises, a first-grader getting sexually harassed, students unprepared for the next grade, families kept in the dark — parents depict a culture of dysfunction at P.S. 207, an early education school that goes up to the second grade, located at 3030 Godwin Terrace. They tell stories of bullying and poor academics and a principal who avoids meeting with them.

This year, the Kingsbridge school received nearly $290,000 in federal Title I funds, which are for schools serving primarily lower-income families, but parents said they have no idea how the money is being spent. Principal Maria Rosado, who has held her position for 12 years, did not respond to multiple interview requests. On Friday, the Department of Education (DOE) responded to a detailed list of questions about the alleged issues with the principal and the school with an emailed statement. 

"Family involvement is crucial to creating strong school environments and the DOE has redoubled its focus on developing stronger relationships between schools and their communities," a spokeswoman wrote.

“I had heard a lot of bad things about the school,” said Vera Kaljevic, whose child currently attends kindergarten at P.S. 207. “I’ve been dreading the last couple of years, since we moved here, and I started researching schools in the area.”

“This is not the first option for anybody, I’m sure,” said Fabia Ono, another kindergarten mother.

DOE statistics show the student body is about 85 percent Hispanic and 9 percent black, making it one of New York City’s many intensely segregated schools. About a third of the students are considered English Language Learners, and several parents estimated that more than half of the parents at the school do not speak English. More than 80 percent of the students qualify for free lunch.

Beyond bullying

Last spring, Kent Bowman’s daughter, who was in first grade at the time, came home from school with a story no parent wants to hear. She told her father two other boys at the table started making sexual remarks in front of her. Then the boys pulled out their penises in front of her, she said. 

“My daughter had her hand raised, and the teacher told her, ‘I don’t want any tattling,’” said Mr. Bowman. 

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