Saturday, July 17, 2010
NY Times Article on School Drowning Criticized
To the editor firstname.lastname@example.org> -
Although I lack direct knowledge of events pertinent to the June 22, tragic drowning of a NYC public school student during a class trip to Long Beach, I write to protest what appears on its surface to be misconstrued, even biased NY Times coverage of the DoE SCI's investigatory report, and subsequent disciplinary action against a first-year teacher ["] The almost predictable result has been to scapegoat an inexperience teacher for failures in DoE planning, procedures and training.
http://www.nycsci.org/reports/07-10%20Columbia%20Secondary%20School%20Ltr.pdfBEACH CLOSED CITY OF LONG BEACH OCEAN BEACH PARK" "NO LIFEGUARD ON DUTY" and "NO BATHING OR SWIMMING" below that.
Putting aside the fact that in the DoE-SCI report several students and other observers reported at interview that on June 22 some signs were obscured by sand drifts-- when sent by her superior to this specific beach, reportedly chosen based on the AP's firsthand knowledge and experience as well as checking online, the only reasonable interpretation of the signage is:11PM – 5AM This interpretation would be reinforced by observing the presence of other bathers and, in fact, a coincident NYC public school (PS 3) class trip of even younger children.
A further salient fact mentioned casually in the DoE-SCI report, and overlooked in NYT articles, is that as a matter of public record (i.e., information readily available online, but reportedly not included in visible beach signage): on June 22, Long Beach was not yet open for the season on weekdays. This fact should have been apparent during competent DoE advance trip planning because, per information posted online-- during the beach season: "Everyone age 13 and older must have paid the admission fee to be permitted on the beach 9AM-6PM." Thus, were the beach open that day, it would be necessary to purchase passes for the class chaperons (but no such plans were made by the school.) By reasonable extension, surely it must strike one when planning a trip: if a beach is not "open", then it probably lacks lifeguards.
At School in Harlem, Resentment Over Girl’s Drowning on a Field Triphttp://www.nytimes.com/2010/07/16/nyregion/16drown.html