Sections

Fort Greene parents love PS 20’s bad boy principal

The Brooklyn Paper
Share on TwitterTweet
Share on Facebook
Subscribe

Don’t miss our updates:

Parents are rallying in support of a controversial principal of a Fort Greene elementary school accused of hitting a kindergarten teacher last month — but he faces a long road back into the front office.

The Department of Education reassigned Sean Keaton to a non-school job after the alleged attack on PS 20’s union representative during, ironically, a disciplinary hearing — but some parents are clamoring for the headmaster’s return to the Adelphi Street school next fall.

“I want him back,” said Pernicia Evans, the mother of a third-grade boy. “He was stern, but this school came a long way.”

Others agreed that the Keaton helped raise students performance at the school since he took over in 2005, and said he should be given another chance.

“He’s a leader and a great educator,” said Sherley Williams, a school aide.

The embattled principal’s supporters took to the Internet, drafting an online petition, which collected 28 signatures through Monday night, asking for his reinstatement.

But that doesn’t mean the entire school community is waiting with a welcome mat for him.

Even before his arrest, Keaton was a divisive figure at PS 20, and, now, with his rap sheet, his critics are more entrenched than ever, after fuming previously about his “authoritar­ian” style on school Web sites.

“I don’t think he’s suited for the job,” said one mother, requesting anonymity. “I don’t think he was had all the tools needed to do a good job.”

Before a possible return, Keaton must face the music, which includes the criminal count against him.

The attacked teacher, Robert Segarra, could not be reached, but a spokesman for the United Federation of Teachers said Segarra, who was allegedly punched and kicked by Keaton, is pressing charges.

The union, meanwhile, said Keaton must receive counseling to control his temper.

“We certainly feel that the principal needs some counseling for anger management,” said Ron Davis, a spokesman for the UFT. “Under no circumstances is it acceptable for a principal to strike a member of the faculty. Until he learns to control his anger management issues, he should not be allowed to direct a school.”

A spokeswoman for the public school system said the incident is being investigated and that no decisions have been made yet about whether Keaton would return in the fall.

— with Thomas Nocera

Updated 5:13 pm, July 9, 2018
Today’s news:
Share on TwitterTweet
Share on Facebook
Subscribe

Don’t miss our updates:


Reasonable discourse

fort greene mom from Fort Greene says:
Your headline is extremely misleading: According to your news story on April 9, only 27% of zoned kindergarteners attend PS 20, with the rest traveling out of the area to attend other schools, including PS 11, Community Roots, and schools in District 15. The school's enrollment is falling, and many of the children currently enrolled are from out of its zone. It's perfectly reasonable to report this story, but you should balance it with the fact that many of the zoned families have made the decision to send their children elsewhere, and many of Mr. Keaton's ardent supporters are traveling to the school from other areas. Fort Greene needs a neighborhood school that serves its community.
June 16, 2009, 10:40 am
Classonian from Clinton Hill says:
Yes, your headline is absurd. 28 signatures is very few, and seems to signify a lack of support. Furthermore, the NYT blog says that some of the 28 signatures are from out-of-staters.
June 16, 2009, 11:27 am
Creed from Fort Greene says:
Another missed opportunity for the Fort Greene community.

Just imagine, an elementary school with a citywide gifted and talented program located directly across the street from a middle school with a citywide gifted and talented program and only a few blocks away from one of the most sought after specialized (gifted and talented) highschools in NYC.

The educational corridor known as Fort Greene could have become one of the most sought after areas for public schools in NYC. Schools thrive when they have students from various ethnicities and cultures in attendance. It is for this reason that the independent schools search for the one thing that many public schools do not have to- diversity.

Just imagine what could have been.
June 16, 2009, 3:24 pm
Wally from Fort Greene says:
To Fort Greene Mom,

I agree with you totally that Mr. Keaton did not have the "tools" needed to do his job as principal at PS 20 well. My reasons are listed below.

1. The current assistant principal now known as the supervisor-in-charge never shared Mr. Keaton's vision. In fact, she was dumped on the school 3 years ago and Mr. Keaton was directed by upper DOE staff to make it work. How do you make something work with a person who's only experience was working as a special education supervisor and sometime inside a failing school under investigation for cheating on the standardized examinations.

2. There is paraprofessional on staff now who is a junky. The UFT is aware of the gentleman and supports him.

3. There is another paraprofessional on staff who has been reprimanded for being verbally abusive to students and most recently choked a female student for spilling milk on his suit.
June 17, 2009, 8:17 am
Wally from Fort Greene says:
4. The guidance counselor never counsels children and falls asleep during meetings.

5. The son of a special education teacher attempted to extort Mr. Keaton for money following an accident involving his son who is a student at the school.

6. The resource room teacher has been bounced all around district 13, because he has been accused of inappropriate touching by several female students.

7. The short secretary is a another staff member dumped on the school. She, like the resource room teacher has worked at a number of elementary schools in district 13. Also, she is racist.

Again, I agree Mr. Keaton never had the tools to be successful at PS 20.
June 17, 2009, 8:18 am
Wally from Fort Greene says:
4. The guidance counselor never counsels children and falls asleep during meetings.

5. The son of a special education teacher attempted to extort Mr. Keaton for money following an accident involving his son who is a student at the school.

6. The resource room teacher has been bounced all around district 13, because he has been accused of inappropriate touching by several female students.
June 17, 2009, 8:18 am
Wally from Fort Greene says:
4. The guidance counselor never counsels children and falls asleep during meetings.

5. The son of a special education teacher attempted to extort Mr. Keaton for money following an accident involving his son who is a student at the school.
June 17, 2009, 8:19 am
P.S. 20 Parent from Fort Greene says:
I don't condone violence, but Mr. Keaton is a great Principal. I really believe that this was all a set up. All of this negative publicity is digusting. Mr. Keaton loves the children and the parents of this community. He has an open door policy. Never once have I asked to meet with him have I been turned down. Stop hating on a Black man who is doing positive things. Ms. Ferrantino cannot handle being Principal. Mr. Segarro should have been reassigned also. He is not innocent in all of this either.
June 23, 2009, 8:35 am

Comments closed.

First name
Last name
Your neighborhood
Email address
Daytime phone

Your letter must be signed and include all of the information requested above. (Only your name and neighborhood are published with the letter.) Letters should be as brief as possible; while they may discuss any topic of interest to our readers, priority will be given to letters that relate to stories covered by The Brooklyn Paper.

Letters will be edited at the sole discretion of the editor, may be published in whole or part in any media, and upon publication become the property of The Brooklyn Paper. The earlier in the week you send your letter, the better.

Keep it local!

Stay in touch with your community. Subscribe to our free newsletter: