By YOAV GONEN Education Reporter
Last Updated: 8:58 AM, February 22, 2010
Posted: 3:33 AM, February 22, 2010
A Manhattan charter school is so plagued with discipline issues and a dearth of academic services that students have been fleeing or have been pushed out in record numbers, parents charge.
This school year alone, 91 of 410 students of those enrolled at Ross Global Academy have left, according to the Department of Education.
It continues an unprecedented trend in which the East Village elementary and middle school has shed more than 20 percent of its students -- and at least 42 percent of its teachers -- every year since it was founded in 2006.
Parents say the exodus is caused in part by the school's undisciplined and sometimes violent environment.
Others charge that the administration encourages parents to withdraw their special-needs kids who can lower a school's performance and who cost more to educate.
"The bullying that my daughter experienced and the violence she experienced in that school were unbelievable,
Mariama Sanoh, a vice president at the New York Charter Parents Association who has three kids at the school, said administrators often try to "counsel out" kids who require special-education services -- including her youngest son.
"They're saying they don't have the resources to deal with kids with [a] disability," said Sanoh. "Instead of helping me, they're trying to push him out to a real public school that will give him what he needs."
In an e-mail to The Post, Principal Julie Johnson blamed the high attrition rate largely on the school's mobility. The academy has moved or been slated to move into four buildings in less than four years.
She called allegations that the school wasn't serving special-education students, who make up 15 percent of the school's population, "inaccurate.
"We are proud of our service to our special-education students," she wrote, adding that "the parents decide whether to move the students [out of the school] or not."