SOUTH BRONX SCHOOL: A Gorilla Shares About Nicole Suriel

Sunday, July 18, 2010

A Gorilla Shares About Nicole Suriel

In light of the sweeping under the rug of responsibility for Principal Jose Maldonado-Rivera and Assistant Principal Andrew Stillman of the Columbia Secondary School of the drowning death of 12 year old Nicole Suriel, we here at SBSB were wondering. Since these two adult males with years of background in education did not know protocol for a field trip, especially a field trip to a beach on an ocean, does anyone know the proper protocol?

We decided to do an experiment. This morning the crack team here at SBSB arrived at 7 AM at the Bronx Zoo's Congo exhibit, long before gates opened, to interview Zuri the Gorilla and our guest translator Jim Fowler of Mutual Of Omaha's Wild Kingdom.

We arrived at the Congo exhibit just as Zuri was finishing his breakfast. He looked relaxed and eager to talk. After some brief greetings and a warm hug from Zuri we sat down with Jim serving as a translator. Here is the transcript of the interview:

Zuri, if you were principal, what would you have done?

Hmmm. That is an easy one. The very first thing I would have made sure that there were signed permission slips specifically for this trip.

But, the students already had "blanket" permission slips.

Not good enough. With a trip like this in which so many things can go wrong, it is better to have specific permission slips. Let me add one more thing. In these permission slips I would have added that if a student is unable to swim that that student cannot come along.

Would you have had the permission slips only in English?

Of course not! Spanish as well.

What about supervision? What would you have done differently?

First, have more than just one teacher. I am not counting the boyfriend and the intern. There should have been some parents there. A principal should and can reach out for parent volunteers. Also, my AP, could have put aside the ordering of supplies and been there. Remember, he said he would. The trip should have been postponed. Of course this is all speculation since I am not a licensed administrator in New York State. To be honest, this trip never should have been approved int he first place.

Who is ultimately responsible for this fiasco and the girls death?

The principal. Like Captain Kirk, Captain Picard, George Steinbrenner, or even Harry Truman the buck always stops at the top. He should have been more involved in this trip and supervised the vetting of it better.

Any other thoughts?

Yes. I believe that the principal, Jose Maldonado-Rivera, should be brought up on charges of criminally negligent homicide. At the very least he never should have been given tenure, and should have been brought up on 3020a charges.

Really? On what basis?

New York State law, and I quote;
125.10 Criminally negligent homicide.
A person is guilty of criminally negligent homicide when, with
criminal negligence, he causes the death of another person.
Wow! You really seem to be going out on a limb!! Well that seems to be all the time we have Zuri. Any last thoughts.

This is a immigrant girl, a girl of color. If she were white we would not be having this conversation. The right thing would have been done.

So there you have it. A primate. A gorilla from Equatorial Africa knows better than the DOE. So sad.

1 comment:

bcavaliere said...

Great idea to use Zuri this way. I often find myself thinking that he, and the others in his troop (especially Julia), know more than most people believe they do. They are amazing ambassadors for their species.