Teachers at the Spuyten Duyvil School (P.S. 24) are getting their desks back after having to work several days without the furniture under orders from Principal Donna Connelly, according to the Department of Education.
"All desks have been returned to the school and are going back into classrooms," a DOE spokesman said in a Monday e-mail.
The announcement came after an uproar from P.S. 24 teachers, who were incensed when administrators told them on Oct. 13 that their desks and filing cabinets would be removed by the 15th.
“What I was told personally was that [Ms. Connelly] had wanted to do it for seven years, it was her vision, and she doesn’t want [District 10 Superintendent] Melodie Mashel coming in December and seeing desks anywhere,” said one teacher, who did not want to be named for fear of retaliation.
On Oct. 15, about a dozen desks and 10 filing cabinets were visible across the street from P.S. 24, located at 660 W. 236th St. But by the following day, the items had been relocated to a basement storage area inside the elementary school.
The DOE spokesman said he could not elaborate on why the desks were put back in classrooms after the hiatus. Between the removal and return of the desks, The New York Post ran an article recounting teachers’ grievances.
Ms. Connelly and other P.S. 24 administrators did not respond to requests for comment. The DOE spokesman said last week that the move had been to “facilitate better instruction.”
While the teacher interviewed for this article said she had received notice directly from Ms. Connelly, she said at least six of her colleagues found out through Post-it Notes stuck to their furniture. She could not be contacted for confirmation of whether her desk had been returned as of press time.
“We don’t have a way to organize,” the teacher complained last week, explaining the school did not provide educators with alternatives to paperwork, such as computers.
When Ms. Connelly was asked what the teachers should do with their paperwork, the source said she told them to “figure it out.”