Feb. 26, 2019 By Meghan Sackman
Council Member Karen Koslowitz is calling on the Department of Education to intervene at Forest Hills High School following a series of allegations that the principal is failing to punish students who smoke pot at school.
Koslowitz, whose two daughters graduated from the school, issued a statement Tuesday saying that she was “stunned and dismayed” when she read a New York Post article that outlined the allegations.
“I have lived in my neighborhood for 56 years, and I can tell you FHHS has enjoyed a reputation for being a highly desirable school,” she said. “I can tell you that what I read in the newspaper is nothing like the fine school that I have experienced.”
The NY Post article contained statements from teachers saying that the current principal, Ben Sherman, has taken a hands off approach to students smoking pot on school property. “It’s going to be legal soon, What can we do?” Sherman reportedly told teachers when he explained why he was not disciplining pot-smoking students.
The article states that teachers from the high school, which has about 3,800 students and received the “National Blue Ribbon” award for excellence in 2000, are concerned that the school is going downhill because of the principal’s policies.
Teachers have questioned several policies adopted by Sherman, who joined the school in 2017. For instance, he opened the student restrooms at all times, and removed bathroom aides who signed students in and out. Troublesome students would then smoke pot and vape in the bathroom.
Mayor de Blasio was asked about the situation at a press event on Sunday in Iowa. In response he said he was not aware of the details but called the situation “unacceptable.”
“If something like that is happening there will be serious consequences for those involved,” De Blasio said.
Koslowitz did not weigh in on Sherman’s actions in her statement. “I am not rushing to a judgement based on a newspaper article,” she said.
However, she called on the DOE to step in and investigate.
“I am asking that the DOE immediately intervene at FHHS to ensure that all laws, rules, regulations and policies are being adhered to,” Koslowitz said. “With the necessary corrections in place, FHHS will continue to enjoy the excellent reputation that it has deservedly maintained through the years.”