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BACK


Office of Special Investigations Memorandum on the PS. 34 abuse case
By Robert T. Small | April 25, 2005


******

Source where OSI report found:
http://www.haitixchange.com/forum/display_topic_threads.asp?ForumID=1&TopicID=2002&ThreadPage=9
*
Additional information of the P.S. 34 case on HLLN
website at: http://www.margueritelaurent.com/pressclips/queensoutrage.html ,

or, Ezilidanto listserve: http://lists.riseup.net/www/arc/ezilidanto/2005-04/msg00005.html

*******************
MEMORANDUM
DATE: April 25, 2005

TO: Thomas Hyland, Deputy Director
FROM: Robert T. Small, Confidential Investigator
SUBJECT: Nancy Miller, Assistant Principal, PS 34Q, R.03
SS # (REDACTED) , File # (REDACTED)
Pauline Shakespeare, Principal, PS 34Q, R.03
SS # (REDACTED) File # (REDACTED) OSI #05-2667
________________________________________________________________________

ORIGIN OF COMPLAINTOn March 28, 2005, at 8:25 PM, an e-mail was received
by the Chancellor. The e-mail’s writer said that he or
she was a parent of a child in Ms. Theodore’s
class at PS 34, but the writer of the email did not
sign his or her name. The email alleged that Ms.
Miller, Assistant Principal, PS 34Q, R.03, made an
entire class sit on the floor and eat with their bare
hands. This e-mail also stated that when students
asked permission to get eating utensils they were
refused and Ms. Miller told them “You are used to
being treated like animals in your country; I’m
treating you like animals.” There was no allegation
about any behavior by the school’s principal, Ms. Shakespeare.

On March 29, 2005, the Chancellor forwarded the e-mail
to the Department’s General Counsel, who forwarded it
to Senior Regional Counsel Thomas Fox and Regional
Superintendent Judith Chin. Regional Counsel Fox
informed the General Counsel that the Office of
Special Investigations would be notified.

On March 29, 2005, Senior Regional Counsel Thomas Fox
notified the Office of Special Investigations (OSI)
about the e-mail. Mr. Fox stated that he would assist
the principal, Ms. Shakespeare, in the investigation
of the allegations, and OSI agreed to oversee the
investigation. Principal Shakespeare filed an
on-line report of the allegations with OSI on the same
day. On March 30, 2005, OSI sent an e-mail to
Principal Shakespeare confirming the referral.

Subsequently, Ms. Shakespeare and Mr. Fox conducted
interviews of the students involved.

On April 1, 2005, the Office of the Special
Commissioner for Investigation (SCI) also received
allegations that on March 16, 2005, Ms. Miller had
forced a bilingual class at PS 34Q to sit on the
cafeteria floor and eat their lunch with their hands,
that she had said to the students that she had to
treat them like animals, and that it was the same way
they are treated in their country. It was also
alleged that Ms. Shakespeare had failed to take any
actions against Ms. Miller. SCI referred these
allegations to OSI. On the same day, Ms. Shakespeare
also contacted SCI to report an allegation that on
March 23 Ms. Theodore had learned of the March 16 incident but had failed to
report it. SCI also referred this allegation to OSI.

Also on April 1, 2005, the Chancellor’s Office of
Strategic Response received another e-mail from a
parent of one of the children in Ms. Theodore’s class,
alleging that, according to his son, on March 16 Ms.
Miller had ordered the children to eat lunch on the
floor while other students sat at tables and forced
them to eat chicken and rice with their hands. The
e-mail also alleged that Ms. Miller told the children
that she was treating them like animals because that
is the way they used to be treated in their country.
This e-mail was referred to OSI on April 1.

On April 4, 2005, the Department’s General Counsel
directed OSI to conduct the entire investigation
itself. On that date, OSI called back the
investigation from the principal, and OSI has
investigated the matter itself.

Ms. Shakespeare was not initially a subject of the
investigation. At that time, OSI was unaware of any
allegation that Ms. Shakespeare had known about the
incident prior to March 29, and she had reported the
allegation to OSI that day.

Ms. Shakespeare became a subject of the investigation,
however, following interviews with Ms. Theodore and
Ms. Vertus, who alleged that Ms. Shakespeare had been
informed of allegations against Ms. Miller on March 23
but had not reported them.

BACKGROUND

1. (REDACTED)

2. (REDACTED)

RESULTS OF THE INVESTIGATION


As detailed below, this investigator interviewed
twelve student witnesses and fifteen adult witnesses.
Most of the witnesses were interviewed multiple times.

This investigator also visited the school and examined
the gymnasium area, and reviewed written statements
obtained from the student witnesses before they were
interviewed by this investigator.Interview of Senior Regional Counsel Thomas Fox
This investigator interviewed Mr. Thomas Fox, Senior
Regional Counsel for R.03, who stated that an e-mail
was received at the Chancellor’s Office alleging that
Ms. Miller, Assistant Principal, PS 34Q, made a
derogatory statement regarding the ethnicity of
Haitian students at PS 34Q. Mr. Fox stated that the
letter also alleged that Ms. Miller made the students
sit on the floor and eat their lunch with their hands.

Mr. Fox stated that since he was present at PS 34Q, he
could assist the Principal in investigating the
allegation.

Mr. Fox stated that he contacted the Office of Special
Investigations and stated that Ms. Shakespeare,
Principal, would conduct the investigation with his
assistance. Mr. Fox stated that he assisted Ms.
Shakespeare in conducting four interviews of two adult
staff members and two students of PS 34Q. Mr. Fox
stated that besides alleging that Ms. Miller made
these students sit on the floor and eat their lunch
with their hands, the students were also alleging that
Ms. Miller told the students that since you act like
animals in your country, you’ll be treated like
animals here.

Visit to PS 34 Gymnasium and Cafeteria


This investigator visited PS 34 and observed the
gymnasium and cafeteria areas. A diagram of those
areas is attached to this report. The gymnasium is a
basketball court, which, as shown in the diagram, is
used in two parts. Left of the center line is a
cafeteria area (which the school uses as an additional
cafeteria space). This cafeteria portion of the
gymnasium has tables and benches where children can
eat lunch. Right of the center line is a
multi-purpose area, with some benches along the walls
and an otherwise open space with an uncovered wooden
floor. There is a television on the wall of this
multi-purpose area. [1]

Interview of Principal Shakespeare
This investigator interviewed Ms. Shakespeare,
Principal, who stated that on March 29, 2005, Mr.
Thomas Fox, Attorney, Region 3, came to PS 34Q and
informed her that an e-mail was sent to the
Chancellor’s Office alleging that Ms. Miller,
Assistant Principal, made students eat their lunch
while sitting on the floor.

Ms. Shakespeare stated that Mr. Fox also informed her
that the letter contained allegations that Ms. Miller
made derogatory statements regarding students’
Haitian background. Ms. Shakespeare stated that she
reported the allegation based on the e-mail to the
Chancellor’s Office. Ms. Shakespeare stated that she
interviewed students and adults.

Ms. Shakespeare stated that during her initial
investigation, she discovered that Ms. Theodore,
Teacher, had taken statements from students two (2)
weeks prior to Ms. Shakespeare’s knowledge of the
allegation and did not report the incident to Ms.
Shakespeare. Ms. Shakespeare stated that she reported
to SCI that Ms. Theodore had not reported the
allegation. Ms. Shakespeare stated that after making
this report to SCI, OSI notified her to stop her
investigation because the investigation would now be
conducted by the Office of Special Investigations.

When asked whether she had received any complaints,
either written or verbal, from parents of the students
in Ms. Theodore’s class, Ms. Shakespeare replied that
she had not received any. She stated, however, that
on April 1, 2005, the father of Student D entered her
office and reported that on Tuesday, March 29, 2005,
Ms. Miller offered his son, Student D, ice cream, to
change his statement. Ms. Shakespeare stated that Ms.
Miller did not know of the allegation until after the
lunch periods on March 29, 2005. Ms. Shakespeare
stated that she interviewed Student D in the presence
of Ms. Divivier, Paraprofessional, who translated
because the student speaks Creole.

Student D stated that he thought Ms. Miller offered
him the ice cream to change his statement. Ms.
Shakespeare stated that Student D also informed her
that Student A overheard Ms. Miller’s offer. Ms.
Shakespeare stated that she interviewed Student A who
stated that he did not hear Ms. Miller offer Student D
ice cream. Student A stated that Student D told him
that Ms. Miller offered him ice cream. Ms. Shakespeare
stated that she concluded that the allegation made
against Ms. Miller regarding offering ice cream to a
student to change his statement was unsubstantiated.

This investigator interviewed Students A through L in
the presence of Ms. Shakespeare, Principal.[2]
Students A through L are all students in Ms.
Theodore’s class, which is a bilingual English-Creole
class. As detailed below, the students had previously
given written statements to Ms. Theodore on March 23
and 24 regarding the March 16 incident (see interview
of Ms. Theodore, below).

According to Ms. Theodore, she asked the students to
write these statements on March 23, although some of
the students turned them in to her the next day. All
of these statements, however, are dated March 16.

These written statements will be referred to as the
“March 23 statements.” During her initial investigation, Ms. Shakespeare also took written
statements from the students, which she provided to this investigator. These statements, which are
generally briefer and less detailed than the March 23 statements or the oral interviews discussed
below, will be referred to as the “statements to Principal Shakespeare.”Student A Student A, Male, 13 years of age, 5th Grade, wrote in his March 23 statement that during his lunch period, Ms. Miller, Assistant Principal, “made us sit on
the floor to eat our lunch. She said that ‘we are animals and we got that from that from our country.’
We also ate rice and chicken with our hands.” He wrote that he was “very hurt” by Ms. Miller’s statement.

In his written statement to Principal Shakespeare,
Student A wrote that “the AP maid us sit on the floor
at the lunch room, She took us from on room to the
next because two students were fighting. She kept
going back and forth. Nothing happened after that.”

In an interview with this investigator and Ms.
Shakespeare that was conducted in English, Student A
stated that on March 16, 2005, Ms. Miller, Assistant
Principal, made the students sit on the floor and eat
their lunch, which consisted of chicken and rice, with
their hands. Student A also stated that Ms. Miller
made derogatory statements calling the students
“animals” and that they got that way being from their
country. Student A stated that he was hurt by Ms.
Miller’s statement. Student A was asked why he only
mentioned to Ms. Shakespeare that Ms. Miller made the
students sit on the floor during the initial
investigation. Student A said that he did not feel
comfortable telling Ms. Shakespeare the other
allegations.

Student B

Student B, Female, 11 years of age, 4th Grade, wrote
in her March 23 statement that Ms. Miller “made us sit
on the floor in front of all the other kids in the
lunch room and made us eat without a spoon. I did not
eat because I was embarrassed. She made us look
gready and she was yelling at us too! Animals
..!”

In her written statement to Principal Shakespeare,
Student B wrote that after a friend of hers told Ms.
Miller that another student had pushed her (Student
B), “Mrs. Miller told us to take our lunch and line up
then she put each of us and a spot by our self to eat
but I did not eat.”

In an interview with this investigator and Ms.
Shakespeare conducted in English Student B stated that
Ms. Miller lined up the whole class and brought them
from the cafeteria to the gymnasium. Student B stated
that Ms. Miller had the students sit on the floor.

Student B stated that Ms. Miller began yelling at
them that they were behaving like “animals”. Student B
also stated that Ms. Miller made the students eat
their lunch without a spoon. Student B was asked if
Ms. Miller made any derogatory statements regarding
Haiti, and Student B replied “No.” Student B also
stated that while Ms. Miller was yelling, Student A
stood up to get a spoon and Ms. Miller told Student A
to sit back down.

Student C


Student C, Male, 9 years of age, 4th Grade, wrote in
his March 23 statement that Ms. Miller, “made us sit
on the floor in the gym to eat and called us animals.”

In his written statement to Principal Shakespeare,
Student C wrote that “Mrs. Miller put me in the floor
and make me eat with my hand.”

In an interview with this investigator, Ms.
Shakespeare and Ms. Blackman, a School Secretary, who
translated in Creole, Student C stated that Ms. Miller
made the students sit on the floor, in the gym, to eat
their lunch. Student C also stated that Ms. Miller
called the students “animals”.

Student C also stated that he had asked Ms. Miller’s permission to get a
fork and was told to sit back down by Ms. Miller.

Student D

Student D, Male, 10 years of age, 5th Grade, in his
March 23 statement, wrote that “Mrs. Miller called us
animall. I felt humiliated she made us sit on the
floor and eat with our hands that day we had to eat
rice and chicken.”

Student D’s written statement to Principal Shakespeare
was written by Rolande Duvivier, Paraprofessional, who
translated the interview by Ms. Shakespeare in
Creole. According to what Rolande Duvivier wrote,
Student D said that Ms. Miller said that “we are
animals. That’s how our country is.”

Student D also said that he did not understand what Ms. Miller said
and asked Student A what Ms. Miller said.

In an interview with this investigator and Ms.
Shakespeare, conducted in English, Student D stated
that his brother, Student C, had a fight with Student
B. Student D stated that Ms. Miller became angry and
took the students into the gym and made them sit on
the floor. Student D stated that Ms. Miller called
the students “animals” and made the students eat their
lunch, which consisted of chicken and rice, with their
hands. Student D stated that while Ms. Miller was
yelling at them, he asked his friend, Student A, what
Ms. Miller was saying. Student D stated that Student A
said that Ms. Miller was calling them “animals.”

Student D also stated that Ms. Miller said that in
Haiti, that is how their mothers treat them and that
is what they want.Student E Student E, Male, 9 years
of age, 4th Grade, stated that he was not present in school
on the day of occurrence.

Student F

Student F, Male, 9 years of age, 4th Grade, wrote in
his March 23 statement that “I was upset because Mrs.
Miller called us animals and made them us sit on the
floor and eat with our hands.”[3]

In an interview with this investigator, Ms.
Shakespeare and Ms. Sainvil, Teacher, who translated
in Creole, Student F stated that he was upset because
Ms. Miller called the students “animals” and made them
sit on the floor and eat their lunches with their
hands. Student F stated that he had a fork to eat his
lunch. Student F was asked if Ms. Miller told any of
the students that they could not use their fork or
spoon to eat. Student F said, “No.” Student F stated
that he ate with his fork, but other students who did
not have a fork or spoon had to eat with their hands.

Student F was asked if Ms. Miller made any derogatory
statements about Haiti. Student F said, “No.”

Student G
Student G, Female, 10 years of age, 4th Grade, wrote
in her March 23 statement that “On Wednesday, March 16
we went to lunch. Ms. Miller made us sit on the floor
in the gym to eat with out a spoon. We asked can we
get a spoon she said no. I ate with my hands. I was
so embarrassed because all the other classes were
looking at us.” In her written statement to Ms. Shakespeare,
Student G wrote that “Ms. Miller make us sit in the gym and eat
with our hand.”

In an interview with this investigator and Ms.
Shakespeare conducted in English, Student G stated
that Ms. Miller made the students sit on the floor, in
the gym, and eat their lunch without a spoon. Student
G stated that students asked Ms. Miller if they could
get a spoon and she refused. Student G said that she
was humiliated because she had to eat her lunch with
her hands. Student G also stated that Ms. Miller
called the students “animals”.

Student H
Student H, Female, 9 years of age, 4th Grade, wrote in
her March 23 statement that “Mrs. Miller made us sit
on the floor and eat with our hands. People were
looking at us. We were embarrassed. There was a girl
laughing.”

In her written statement to Ms. Shakespeare, Student H
wrote that “Mrs. Miller separated us. At the cafiteria.”

In an interview with this investigator and Ms.
Shakespeare conducted in English, Student H stated
that she was embarrassed because Mrs. Miller made the
students sit on the floor and eat their lunch with
their hands. Student H stated that she got her lunch,
but before she could get her fork or spoon, she was
taken into the gym along with the other students and
made to sit on the floor. Student H stated that
because she did not have a fork or spoon, she ate her
lunch with her hands. Student H was asked if any of
the students asked Ms. Miller if they could get a fork
or spoon. Student H said, “No.” Everyone was too
afraid, she said.

Student I
Student I, Male, 9 years of age, 4th Grade, wrote in
his March 23 statement that “On march 16 at the
lunchroom in front of everybody the Assistant
Principal (Mrs. Miller) made us sit on the lunchroom
gym floor and she made us eat with our hands in front
of Mrs. Marks’ class. I felt humiliated.”

In his written statement to Principal Shakespeare,
Student I wrote that “On march 16, misses miller made
us sit on the floor sepretly and she made us eat
with our hands and [another student] saw and I felt
humileyated.”

In an interview with this investigator and Ms.
Shakespeare which was conducted in English, Student I
stated that Ms. Miller made the students sit on the
gym floor and eat their lunch with their hands.

Student I stated that Ms. Miller said that Haitians
are “stupid” and “bad.” Student I was asked why he did
not mention this allegation in any of his previous
statements. Student I shrugged his shoulders. Student
I also stated that Student A stood up to get a spoon
and was told to sit back down by Ms. Miller.

Student J
Student J, Female, 9 years of age, 4th Grade, wrote in
her March 23 statement that “one day the students were
being bad so Miss Miller made us sit in the floor.

When the students were trying to go get a spoon she
said No! And she said we are animals . . . I was so
embarrassed because I saw people sitting at their
table to eat but we were sitting on the floor eating
with our hands.” In her written statement to Principal Shakespeare,
Student J wrote, “There was a girl named [Student B]
was being bad so she just took us and made us sit in
the floor. When we was we was going to get a spoon
she said No! And she said we act like animals.”

In an interview with this investigator and Ms.
Shakespeare which was conducted in English, Student J
stated that Ms. Miler made the students sit on the gym
floor and eat their lunches with their hands.

Student J stated that some of the students attempted to get a
spoon but were told “No” by Ms. Miller. Student J
stated that Student I did not eat his chicken because
he did not have eating utensils. Student J also
stated that Ms. Miller called the students “animals”.

Student J stated that she did not sit on the gym floor
but sat on one of the benches.

Student K
Student K, Male, 10 years of age, 4th Grade, wrote in
his March 23 statement that Ms. Miller “made us sit on
the floor and eat with our hands. She called us
animals in front of everybody.”

Ms. Shakespeare provided a statement written by Ms.
Gilbert, Guidance Counselor, who was present when Ms.
Shakespeare spoke to Student K. Ms. Gilbert wrote
that Student K said that one student punched another,
that Ms. Miller then told some of the children to sit
on the benches, and that kids in Student K’s class sat
on the floor. Ms. Gilbert also wrote that Student K
said he did not understand what Ms. Miller said.

In an interview with this investigator, Ms.
Shakespeare and Ms. Divivier, Paraprofessional (who
was going to be utilized as a translator if needed,
although she did not have to translate because the
interview was conducted in English), Student K stated
that Ms. Miller made the students sit on the gym floor
and eat their lunches with their hands. Student K
stated that he had a spoon to eat his lunch. Student K
was asked if Ms. Miller told any of the students that
they had to eat their lunch with their hands. Student
K said, “No.” Student K was asked if any of the
students asked Ms. Miller for permission to get a fork
or spoon. Student K said, “No.”

Student L

Student L, Male, 10 years of age, 5th Grade, wrote in
his statement that Ms. Miller “made us sit on the
floor and made us eat with our hands during lunchtime.
She also said ‘You are animals and that’s the way
they treat you in your country . . . so I am treating
you like animals. I felt offended.”

In his written statement to Principal Shakespeare,
Student L wrote, “First my friends was fighting then
my other friend told Mrs. Miller and Mrs. Miller
brought us into the gym. She made us sit on the floor
in front of all the classes. And she also said that
that how behave in Haiti like animals she going to
treat us like animals.”

In an interview with this investigator and Ms.
Shakespeare, conducted in English, Student L stated
that Ms. Miller made the students sit on the gym floor
and eat their lunches with their hands. Student L
stated that Ms. Miller made derogatory statements
calling the students “animals” and saying that is how
they are treated in their country, and that is how I
am going to treat you. Student L stated that he
attempted to get a fork and spoon and was told to sit
back down by Ms. Miller.

Interview with Paraprofessional Divivier


This investigator interviewed Ms. Divivier,
Paraprofessional, who stated that she translated when
Student D was interviewed by Ms. Shakespeare,
Principal. Ms.Divivier stated that Student D told her
that he did not understand what Ms. Miller was saying
to the class. Student D stated that he asked his
friend, Student A, what Ms. Miller said. Ms. Divivier
stated that Student D said that Student A told him
that Ms. Miller called them “animals” and said that’s
how their country is.

Interview with Guidance Counselor Gilbert


This investigator interviewed Ms. Gilbert, Guidance
Counselor, who stated that she was present during
three (3) or four (4) of the interviews conducted by
Ms. Shakespeare, Principal. Ms. Gilbert stated that
the students did make allegations, but indicated that
because of the language barrier she did not credit the
students’ allegations. Ms. Gilbert stated that she did
write a statement for Student K, who does not speak
English, while being interviewed by Ms. Shakespeare.

Ms. Gilbert was asked if Student A ever informed her
that Ms. Miller made derogatory statements. Ms.
Gilbert said, “Never.”

Interview with Assistant Cook Smith and School Lunch
Helpers Hall, Williams, Mangal and Parasram


This investigator interviewed Mr. Smith, Assistant
Cook, who stated that he had no knowledge regarding
the allegation.

This investigator interviewed Mr. Hall, Ms. Williams,
Ms. Mangal and Ms. Parasram, School Lunch Helpers, all
of whom stated that they had no knowledge regarding
the allegationsInterview with Paraprofessional House
This investigator interviewed Mr. House,
Paraprofessional, who had previously given a written
statement to Ms. Shakespeare. In his written
statement, he wrote that he was on lunch duty in the
gym. Mr. House wrote that nothing unusual
happened that day.

In an interview with this investigator and Ms.
Shakespeare, Mr. House stated that he was on lunch
duty in the lower gym during the second and third
lunch periods. Mr. House stated that he never heard
Ms. Miller make a derogatory statement regarding any
student’s native country. Mr. House stated that if he
had heard anyone making such a remark he would have
reported the incident immediately.

Interview with School Aide Robinson


This investigator interviewed Ms. Robinson, School
Aide, who had previously given a written statement to
Ms. Shakespeare. In her statement, Ms. Robinson
wrote that on March 16, 2005, Ms. Theodore’s class was
misbehaving in the cafeteria. Ms. Robinson stated that
Ms. Miller escorted the students into the lower gym.

Ms. Robinson wrote that some of the students sat on
the benches while others sat on the floor. Ms.
Robinson wrote that Ms. Miller addressed the students
telling them that for the next thirty (30) days they
would be eating in their classroom for their behavior.

In an interview with this investigator and Ms.
Shakespeare Ms. Robinson stated that the students were
brought into the gym by Ms. Miller. Ms. Robinson
stated that the students chose their seats. Some of
the students sat on the benches while others sat on the
floor. Ms. Robinson was asked if any of the students
were forced to sit on the floor and eat their lunch.

Ms. Robinson said, “No.” Ms. Robinson was asked if any
of the students were denied permission to get eating
utensils by Ms. Miller. Ms. Robinson said, “No.” When
asked, Ms. Robinson said that she did not hear Ms.
Miller make any derogatory statements. Ms. Robinson
did state that she heard Ms. Miller tell the students
that because of their behavior, they would be eating
their lunch in their classroom for thirty (30) days.

Interview with School Aide Goode


This investigator interviewed Ms. Goode, School Aide,
who had previously given a written statement to Ms.
Shakespeare. In her written statement, Ms. Goode
wrote that during the second lunch period, with the
fourth grade, Ms. Miller escorted Ms. Theodore’s class
into the gym. Ms. Goode wrote that Ms. Miller told the
students to sit on the bench and wait for Mr. Dennis,
who had taken Ms. Theodore’s students back to their
classroom the previous two days. Ms. Goode wrote that
Ms. Miller was called away unaware that Mr. Dennis was
substituting in another classroom. Ms. Goode wrote
that the students remained in the gym until Ms.
Theodore came for them.

In an interview with this investigator and Ms.
Shakespeare, Ms. Goode stated that the students were
brought into the gym by Ms. Miller. Ms. Goode stated
that the students were sitting on the benches eating
lunch. Ms. Goode was asked if any of the students were
sitting on the floor eating lunch. Ms. Goode said,
“No.”

Ms. Goode was asked if any of the students were
denied permission to get eating utensils by Ms.
Miller. Ms. Goode said, “No.” Ms. Goode was asked if
she heard Ms. Miller make any derogatory statement
while speaking to the students about their behavior.
Ms. Goode said, “No.”

Interview with Assistant Principal Miller


This investigator interviewed Ms. Miller, Assistant
Principal, in the presence of Mr. Schwartz,
Representative, Council of School Supervisors and
Administrators. When asked, Ms. Miller stated that she
began her employment with the DOE on September 1,
1993. Ms. Miller stated from 1993 through 1998 she was
assigned to PS 177. Ms. Miller stated that in 1998 she
left the NYCDOE. Ms. Miller stated that in 2001 she
returned to the NYCDOE and was reassigned to PS 177
where she remained until June 2, 2004.

Ms. Miller stated that on June 3, 2004, she was
assigned as Assistant Principal at PS 34Q. Ms. Miller
was asked if prior to being interviewed by Ms.
Shakespeare, Principal, PS 34Q, if she had any prior
relationship, professional or otherwise, with Ms.
Shakespeare. Ms. Miller said, “No.” Ms. Miller stated
that she only met Ms. Shakespeare when she was
interviewed for the Assistant Principal position.

After being made aware of the allegations, Ms. Miller
stated that on the day of occurrence, nine of the
twelve students were misbehaving, fighting, running
and bumping into other students while in the school
cafeteria. Ms. Miller stated that she has had
behavioral problems with this class in the past. Ms.
Miller stated that she gathered the students and
brought them into the gym (multi-purpose room.) Ms.
Miller stated that she separated the students, having
three (3) students sit on three benches and telling
the other nine (9) students to sit on the floor. Ms.
Miller stated that she addressed the students and told
them that their behavior is inappropriate and that it
needs to stop. Ms. Miller stated that the students sat
in their places and she went back to supervising
both the cafeteria and the multi purpose room. Ms.
Miller was asked if, when she gathered the students to
take them into the multi purpose room, any of the
students were on line to get their lunch. Ms. Miller
said, “No.” Ms. Miller stated that she assumed all of
the students had already eaten because it was twenty
minutes into the lunch period. Ms. Miller was asked
if, when she took the students into the multi purpose
room, she noticed any of the students having food with
them. Ms. Miller said, “No.” Ms. Miller stated that
everything happened so quickly. Ms. Miller stated that
she had taken the twelve students away from the other
students so no one would be injured.

Ms. Miller was asked if, when she was addressing the
students, she told the students that they were acting
like “animals.” Ms. Miller stated that she never
used the word “animals.” Ms. Miller stated that she
told the students that for their ages their behavior
was unacceptable. Ms. Miller was asked either when
gathering the students to go into the multi purpose
room or when addressing the students in the multi
purpose room, if any of the students asked permission
to go get eating utensils. Ms. Miller stated that the
students knew that she was angry and none of the
students asked any questions.

Ms. Miller was asked if when addressing the students,
if she referred to “Haiti” in any way. Ms. Miller
stated that she did not mention “Haiti.” Ms. Miller
was asked if in addressing the students, if she used
“country” or “your country.” Ms. Miller said, “No.”
Ms. Miller was asked how long the whole incident
lasted. Ms. Miller stated that the whole incident
lasted three minutes. Ms. Miller was asked how and
when she was first made aware of allegations. Ms.
Miller stated that on Tuesday, March 29, 2005, Ms.
Shakespeare, Principal, called her into her (Ms.
Shakespeare’s) office inquiring as to what had
happened the day that she (Ms. Shakespeare) was out of
the school building. Ms. Miller stated that Ms.
Shakespeare asked if an incident occurred with Ms.
Theodore’s class. Ms. Miller stated that she informed
Ms. Shakespeare that nothing out of the ordinary had
occurred, but that Ms. Theodore’s class was
misbehaving. Ms. Miller stated that Ms. Shakespeare
then asked if she had made any racial comments, made
students sit on the floor or made students eat lunch
with their hands. Ms. Miller stated that she explained
to Ms. Shakespeare exactly what was stated above.

Ms. Miller explained that the multi-purpose room is
used for a number of things. Ms. Miller stated that
students sit on the floor daily for different reasons
like watching television, videos or just during
playtime. Ms. Miller was asked if she had spoken to
anyone regarding the incident or allegations prior to
Tuesday, March 29, 2005, when the allegations were
reported. Ms. Miller said, “No.” Ms. Miller was asked
if she knew of anyone who might be angry with her or
have an agenda against her. Ms. Miller stated that Ms.
Theodore and other Haitian Teachers are under the
impression that she and Ms. Shakespeare might
dissolve the Bi-Lingual Program at PS 34Q. Ms. Miller
was asked about a statement attributed to her that the
students would eat in their classroom for thirty (30)
days because of their behavior. Ms. Miller stated
that she may have made that statement. Ms. Miller
stated that she has said that in the past to students,
in an attempt to have them behave, but that she had no
recollection of making that statement that day.

Interview of Crisis Intervention Teacher Vertus


This investigator interviewed Ms. Vertus, Crisis
Intervention, Tenured Teacher, who stated that on
Tuesday, March 29, 2005, she was summoned to Ms.
Shakespeare’s Office. Ms. Vertus stated upon her
arrival, Mr. Thomas Fox, Attorney, Region 3, was
already present. Ms. Vertus stated that Mr. Fox
informed both her and Ms. Shakespeare of the
allegations concerning Ms. Miller, Assistant
Principal. Ms. Vertus stated that Mr. Fox reported
the incident online and instructed Ms. Shakespeare to
file an incident report. Ms. Vertus stated that they
were having difficulty with the school computers all
day, Tuesday, March 29, 2005, and that the incident
was reported a second time in error on Wednesday, March
30, 2005. Ms. Vertus also stated that on Wednesday,
March 23, 2005, she was summoned to Ms. Farrell’s
classroom and asked to remove a student who was
misbehaving. Ms. Vertus stated that she removed the
student and entered Ms. Theodore’s classroom and asked
if the student could remain with Ms. Theodore until
parents were notified.

While Ms. Vertus was in the classroom, Ms. Theodore
asked Ms. Vertus to listen to what the students were
saying. Ms. Vertus stated that the students informed
her that they were made to sit on the floor during
lunch. Ms. Vertus stated she again asked the students
if they were made to sit on the floor to which they
replied “Yes.” Ms. Vertus stated that she informed
Ms. Theodore that she would inform Ms. Shakespeare.

Ms. Vertus stated that Ms. Shakespeare was out of the
building that day, but she did contact Ms. Shakespeare
that same evening. Ms. Vertus stated that after
informing Ms. Shakespeare of what the students had
reported, Ms. Shakespeare asked if Ms. Vertus had
spoken to Ms. Miller. Ms. Vertus stated that she
informed Ms. Shakespeare that she had not spoken to
Ms. Miller. Ms. Vertus stated that she informed Ms.
Shakespeare that she as the principal should speak
with Ms. Miller to obtain the details.

Ms. Vertus was asked if she had any knowledge of Ms.
Miller making derogatory statements. Ms. Vertus said,
“No.” Ms. Vertus was asked if she had any knowledge
of students in Ms. Theodore’s classroom writing
statements concerning the allegations. Ms. Vertus
advised that when Mr. Fox was at the school
interviewing students, she learned that a student had
written a statement for Ms. Theodore.

Interview of Teacher Theodore

This investigator interviewed Ms. Theodore, Tenured
Teacher, in the presence of Mr. Gottlieb, United
Federation of Teachers Representative. Ms. Theodore
stated that on Wednesday, March 23, 2005, upon her
return to the classroom from lunch, Ms. Nogais, Intern
Teacher, asked her if she had heard what the students
were saying. Ms. Theodore stated that she asked the
students what they were talking about. Ms. Theodore
stated that the students informed her that Students B
and C were fighting and that Ms. Miller became angry
and took the class into the gym.

Ms. Theodore stated that the children had their lunch,
but not utensils. Ms. Theodore stated that the
students reported that Ms. Miller sat them on the
floor and when they asked to get their forks, Ms.
Miller refused. Ms. Theodore stated that the students
also said that Ms. Miller called them “animals” and
made derogatory statements about their homeland,
Haiti.

Ms. Theodore stated that Ms. Vertus, Crisis
Intervention Teacher, entered her classroom and that
she asked Ms. Vertus to listen to what the students
were reporting. Ms. Theodore stated that she believed
that the students told Ms. Vertus all of the
allegations they had reported to her. Ms. Theodore
stated that Ms. Vertus left her classroom saying that
she would inform Ms. Shakespeare, Principal.

Ms. Theodore stated that she instructed the students
to write statements stating what they had reported to
her. Ms. Theodore stated that not all of the students’
statements were turned in to her that day. Ms.
Theodore stated that some students turned in their
statements the following day. Ms. Theodore was asked
if she assisted the students in writing their
statements in any way. Ms. Theodore said, “No.” Ms.
Theodore was asked if any of the students informed her
that they were assisted by their parents in writing
statements. Ms. Theodore said, “No.” Ms. Theodore was
asked why the statements were dated March 16, 2005,
when they were written on Wednesday, March 23, 2005.

Ms. Theodore stated that that is what the students
wrote. Ms. Theodore was asked if all of her bilingual
students understand English. Ms. Theodore stated that
eight (8) of the twelve students understand English
and the other four (4) students are just learning. Ms.
Theodore was asked if the four students who are just
learning English wrote statements. Ms. Theodore said,
“Yes.” Ms. Theodore was asked how the four students
who are just learning English wrote statements. Ms.
Theodore stated that the students helped each other
write statements while in the classroom on Wednesday,
March 23, 2005.Ms. Theodore was asked what she did with the
statements after the students wrote them. Ms. Theodore
stated that she held onto the statements waiting for
Ms. Shakespeare to come and speak with her. Ms.
Theodore was asked why, when no one came to speak with
her, she did not approach Ms. Shakespeare. Ms.
Theodore stated that she knew Ms. Shakespeare knew of
the incident because Ms. Vertus had told her that she
had informed Ms. Shakespeare.[4] Ms. Theodore was
asked if she had overheard any of the allegations that
were told to Ms. Vertus by the students. Ms. Theodore
stated that she did not hear what was reported to Ms.
Vertus by the students. Ms. Theodore was asked when
she turned over the statements to Ms. Shakespeare.

Ms. Theodore stated that on Tuesday, March 29, 2005,
Mr. Fox was present at 34Q. Ms. Theodore stated that
Mr. Fox and Ms. Shakespeare interviewed her regarding
the allegations. Ms. Theodore stated that after Mr.
Fox and Ms. Shakespeare interviewed one of her
students, Ms. Shakespeare asked her (Ms. Theodore) if
she had in her possession any statements written by
students. Ms. Theodore stated that when she informed
Ms. Shakespeare that she did, Ms. Shakespeare asked
her for them. Ms. Theodore was asked if, when she was
interviewed by Mr. Fox and Ms. Shakespeare, she
informed them that she had the students write
statements. Ms. Theodore said, “No.” Ms. Theodore was
asked why not. Ms. Theodore stated that Mr. Fox was
asking her questions which she answered. Ms. Theodore
stated that she did not think of the written
statements.

Ms. Theodore was also asked if, prior to this
incident, she had had any knowledge of any prior
incidents concerning anyone making derogatory
statements regarding Haiti. Ms. Theodore stated that
at the beginning of the school year (near the end of
October), early one morning while the students were
lining up in the gym to be escorted to their
classrooms, her students were being unruly. Ms.
Theodore stated that when her students arrived in the
classroom, Student B informed her that Ms. Miller said
that they were acting the way they were because of the
country they come from. Ms. Theodore stated that she
informed Ms. Shakespeare of the allegation.

Ms. Theodore stated that she believes that Ms.
Shakespeare addressed Ms. Miller regarding the
allegation because the following morning, Ms. Miller
approached her and asked how could she (Ms. Theodore)
believe she would make a remark like that. Ms.
Theodore stated that she replied to Ms. Miller that
people say things when they are angry. Ms. Theodore
stated that Ms. Miller told her that she is not a
racist and did not make that remark. Ms. Theodore
stated that Ms. Miller asked her to address the
students and tell them that she did not make such a
remark. Ms. Theodore stated that she informed Ms.
Miller that her students were upset and that she
should address the students. Ms. Theodore stated that
she and Ms. Miller went to the gym where her students
were lined up. Ms. Theodore stated that Ms. Miller
took her class to the cafeteria and had them sit down.

Ms. Theodore stated that Ms. Miller asked the students
what they thought she had said. Ms. Theodore stated
that Student B said what she had heard, that they are
acting that way because of the country they are from.

Ms. Theodore stated that Ms. Miller told the students
that that she did not make such a remark. Ms.
Theodore stated that Ms. Miller explained she had
said, “You (students) should be behaving better
because of the country you are from.” Ms. Theodore
stated that Student B began to cry thinking that she
was in trouble. Ms. Theodore stated that Ms. Miller
explained to Student B that she is not in trouble, and
if there is anything wrong, to go to a teacher and
talk about the problem.

Second Interview of School Aide Goode


This investigator re-interviewed Ms. Goode, School
Aide, who stated that on March 16, 2005, students
entered the gym and some sat on benches and others sat
on the floor. Ms. Goode stated that some of the
students had their lunch trays with them. Ms. Goode
stated that Ms. Miller then entered the gym and told
the students that their behavior was unacceptable, and
that they will be eating in their classroom for the
next thirty (30) days. Ms. Goode was asked if she
observed any of the students eating their lunch with
their hands. Ms. Goode said, “No.” Ms. Goode was asked
if any of the students asked Ms. Miller for permission
to get a fork or spoon. Ms. Goode said, “No.”

Re-interviews of Students

All of the following students were re-interviewed, in
the presence of Paraprofessional, Ms. Divivier,
concerning the alleged October 2004 incident.

Student A, Male, 13 years of age, 5th Grade, stated
that Ms. Miller is not in the gym in the morning while
the students are lining up. Student A stated that
Ms. Miller did not say anything bad.

This investigator attempted to re-interview Student B
in the presence of Ms. Divivier, Paraprofessional,
regarding the allegation which occurred in October
2004. Student B advised this investigator that her
parents did not want her interviewed any further.

Student C, Male, 9 years of age, 4th Grade, stated
that he only remembers Ms. Miller making the students
sit on the floor.


Student F, Male, 9 years of age, 4th Grade, stated to
Ms. Divivier, who translated, that the only thing Ms.
Miller said was to sit on the floor.

Student G, Female, 10 years of age, 4th Grade, stated
that while in the gym Ms. Miller made a statement
about the students’ country and their behavior.

Student G stated that the students were playing in the
gym when Ms. Miller told them to line up. Student G
stated that the students did not hear Ms. Miller and
continued playing. Student G stated that is when Ms.
Miller made her remarks. Student G was asked what Ms.
Miller had said. Student G stated the remark was
something like their country made them like that.

Student G stated that she told Ms. Theodore. Student G
stated that the following day, Ms. Miller sat the
class in the cafeteria and explained that she did not
make that comment.Student H, Female, 9 years of age, 4th Grade, stated
that the only remarks she heard Ms. Miller make was
that when the boys were acting bad, Ms. Miller called
them “animals.”

Student I,
Male, 9 years of age, 4th Grade, stated
that he did not hear any derogatory statements.

Student J, Female, 9 years of age, 4th Grade, stated
that she did not hear any derogatory statements.

Student K, Male, 10 years of age, 4th Grade, stated
that he does not know if Ms. Miller is present in the
gym in the morning when the students line up.

Student G was re-interviewed and was asked if she
heard Ms. Miller make the derogatory remarks. Student
G stated that as she walked into the gym she heard
someone say maybe their country made them like that.

Student G stated that she asked Student B who said
that. Student G stated that Student B told her that it
was Ms. Miller talking to their class because the
students were not listening to her. Student G was
asked if she could provide this investigator with the
names of any other possible witnesses to this
allegation.

Student B provided the name of one
possible witness. This witness is currently out of
school due to the death of a family member and
therefore could not be interviewed.

On Tuesday, April 19, 2005, this investigator
contacted the parent of Student B, via telephone, and
requested permission to re-interview Student B
regarding the new information obtained. In the
presence of her parent Student B was re-interviewed
and stated that on that morning, while in the
gymnasium waiting to line up to be escorted to their
classroom, students were running and playing. Student
B stated that Ms. Miller told the students to line up.

Student B stated that the students continued playing
and Ms. Miller said, “You can act like that in Haiti,
but not in New York.” Student B stated upon entering
the classroom, she reported the incident to Teacher,
Ms. Theodore.

Student B stated that Ms. Miller took the class to the
cafeteria and asked what they thought they had heard
her say. Student B stated that Ms. Miller explained
that she did not say what Student B thought she had
heard and that Student B must have misunderstood.

When asked by this investigator what Ms. Miller said
she had said, Student B stated that she could not
remember. When asked by this investigator whether she
might have misunderstood what Ms. Miller said, Student
B said, yes, she could have.

Second Interview of Principal Shakespeare


This investigator re-interviewed Ms. Shakespeare,
Principal, in the presence of Ms. Lazar,
Representative, Council of School Supervisors and
Administrators.

Ms. Shakespeare stated that she began with the NYCDOE
as a teacher in 1994. Ms. Shakespeare stated that from
1994 through 1999 she was a teacher at PS 95K. Ms.
Shakespeare stated that in either October or November
1999, she was assigned as an Assistant Principal and
was assigned to PS 100K until March 2004, when she
was assigned Principal to PS 34Q.

Ms. Shakespeare was asked that if prior to
interviewing Ms. Miller for her position as Assistant
Principal at PS 34Q, did she (Ms. Shakespeare) have
any personal or professional relationship with Ms.
Miller. Ms. Shakespeare said, “No.” Ms. Shakespeare
was asked if she was made aware of the allegation that
Ms. Miller made students sit on the floor during lunch
on Wednesday, March 23, 2005, by Ms. Vertus. Ms.
Shakespeare stated that on Wednesday, March 23, 2005,
she was out of the school building at a Regional
Principal’s Conference. Ms. Shakespeare stated that
toward the end of the school day she contacted Ms.
Vertus, via telephone, inquiring what if anything had
occurred at PS 34Q during her absence. Ms. Shakespeare
stated that Ms. Vertus informed her that during the
school day she (Ms. Vertus) entered Ms. Theodore’s
classroom and Ms. Theodore informed her that her
students were upset because they were made to sit on
the floor during their lunch period by Ms. Miller.
Ms. Shakespeare stated that she then contacted Ms.
Miller, Assistant Principal, via telephone, and asked
if any students were made to sit on the floor during
lunch that day. Ms. Shakespeare stated that Ms. Miller
informed her that no students were made to sit on the
floor that day. Ms. Shakespeare did no further
follow-up of Ms. Vertus’s reported allegation. Ms.
Shakespeare was asked if anyone reported to her in
October 2004 that Ms. Miller made derogatory
statements regarding students’ ethnicity. Ms.
Shakespeare stated that no one reported any such
allegation to her.

Second Interview of Assistant Principal Miller
This investigator re-interviewed Ms. Miller, Assistant
Principal, in the presence of Mr. Schwartz,
Representative, Council of School Supervisors and
Administrators. Ms. Miller was asked the time that the
second (2nd) lunch period begins and ends at PS 34Q.

Ms. Miller stated that the lunch period begins at
11:40 AM and ends at approximately 12:29 PM. Ms.
Miller was asked on the day of occurrence, how long
Ms. Theodore’s students were in the cafeteria prior to
being escorted into the multi purpose room. Ms.
Miller said approximately fifteen (15) or twenty (20)
minutes. Ms. Miller was asked if she escorted
students into the multi purpose room, and she replied
“Yes.” Ms. Miller was asked when she escorted
students into the multi purpose room, and separated
the students, if the students had food with them. Ms.
Miller stated she did not see any of the students with
food in their possession. Ms. Miller was asked in
addressing the students, what comments she made. Ms.
Miller stated that she told the students that they
were getting too old for that type of behavior and
that their behavior was unacceptable. Ms. Miller also
stated that as discussed in the previous interview,
she might have told the students that as a result of
their behavior, they will be eating in their classroom
for the next thirty (30) days, but she has no
recollection of making such a statement that day.

Ms. Miller stated that after addressing the students,
she returned to her duties. Ms. Miller was asked if
at any time prior to this incident she had to explain
to these same students a statement made by her that
may have been misinterpreted. Ms. Miller said, “Yes.”

Ms Miller was asked to explain the circumstances of
the incident, and she stated that in September 2004,
Ms. Theodore, Teacher, came to her and informed her
that her (Ms. Theodore’s) students were upset over a
comment that Ms. Miller had made. Ms. Miller stated
that she asked Ms. Theodore what comment she was
referring to and Ms. Miller stated that, to the best
of her recollection, the comment referred to the
students’ country of origin. Ms. Miller stated that
she informed Ms. Theodore that she would like to speak
with her students. Ms. Miller stated that she, Ms.
Theodore and the students sat in the school cafeteria.

Ms. Miller stated that she gave the students two
choices, (A) statement she made (which she could not
remember) and (B) statement students thought that she
had said (referring to their country of origin). Ms.
Miller stated that after asking the students which
statement she had made the students chose statement
(A). Ms. Miller stated that one of the female students
began to cry. Ms. Miller stated that she asked the
student if she was crying because she believed that
Ms. Miller made the statement referring to her country
or because she thought that she was in trouble. Ms.
Miller stated that the student replied that she
thought that she was in trouble. Ms. Miller stated
that she comforted the student by hugging her and
informed the student that in no way was she in
trouble.

Third Interview of Principal Shakespeare

On April 22, 2005, Ms. Shakespeare was interviewed at
the Office of Special Investigations with her union
representative, Marlene Lazaar. Ms. Shakespeare
was asked again whether she had any past prior
professional or personal relationship with Ms. Miller,
and she stated “No”. She said that, professionally,
Ms. Miller is a very hard and dedicated worker, but
that her first encounter with Ms. Miller was when she
was interviewed for the position of Assistant
Principal.This investigator again asked about the March 2005
incident where children were made to sit on the floor
during lunch as reported by Ms. Vertus. Ms.
Shakespeare replied again that she spoke to Ms. Miller
and specifically asked whether children were made to
sit on the floor during lunch to which Miller told
Ms. Shakespeare that “No children were made to sit on
the floor that day.” She was questioned further as to
why she didn’t probe further regarding the
discrepancy in the statements of Ms. Vertus and Ms.
Miller. Ms. Shakespeare replied that the children sit
on the floor on a daily basis doing appropriate
recess activities, such as puzzles and reading, if
they don’t go outside during recess, so she did not
find this allegation inappropriate.

Ms. Shakespeare was further questioned regarding the
October 2004 allegation that Ms. Miller made
derogatory comments about Haiti to two students. Ms.
Shakespeare denied any knowledge of this alleged
incident

CONCLUSIONS
March 2005 incident

The Office of Special Investigations found the student
witnesses credible. The students’ accounts of the
March incident during oral interviews were consistent
with each other. Although there are some differences
in the details of their accounts, the students all say
that Ms. Miller brought them to the gymnasium with
their lunch and made them sit on the floor. Some of
the students say that Ms. Miller did so because two of
the students had been fighting. All the students also
say that Ms. Miller did not allow them to get up to
obtain utensils, so that they had to eat with their
hands. The consistency of their accounts and their
demeanor during the interviews supports their
credibility, as does the fact that their March 23
written statements regarding the incident are
consistent with the details they provided during the
interviews. Moreover, although the written statements
given to Principal Shakespeare during her initial
investigation are briefer than the March 23 written
statements, they contain many of the same details the
students expressed in the March 23 written statements
and the oral interviews with this investigator.[5]

Furthermore, some details from the students’ accounts
are corroborated by Ms. Miller and Ms. Goode. Ms.
Miller stated that she brought the students into the
gymnasium because they were being unruly, and she said
that she had most of them sit on the floor. Although
Ms. Miller said she does not remember the children
having food when she brought them into the cafeteria,
Ms. Goode stated that the children brought lunch trays
into the gymnasium and ate lunch there, corroborating
the students’ account.

While the students accounts are entirely consistent
about their being brought into the gymnasium, sitting
on the floor, and eating with their hands, there are
differences between their accounts of what Ms. Miller
said to them. Ms. Miller’s statements that she was
angry because the students had been unruly in
the cafeteria, and that the students knew that she was
angry, tend to support the students’ account that she
was yelling at them, but they do not resolve the
issue of what she said. In their March 23 statements,
eight of the eleven students involved in the incident
said that Ms. Miller had referred to them as animals.

During oral interviews with this investigator, again
eight of the eleven students (seven of the eight who
had included it in their March 23 statements plus one
more student who had not) said that Ms. Miller called
them animals or said that they were behaving like
animals (although it should be noted that one of those
eight said that he had not understood what Ms.
Miller said and asked another student to tell him).

In regard to the alleged comments about Haiti,
however, only two students said in their March 23
statements that Ms. Miller had made a statement about
the students’ “country.”

During the oral interviews with this investigator, the
same two students said that Ms. Miller had made a
comment about their “country,” and two other students
said, for the first time, that Ms. Miller had made
comments about Haiti or Haitians. But one of those
two students is the one who said he did not understand
Ms. Miller’s comments and asked another student what
she had said, and the other students’ statement that
Ms. Miller said Haitians are “stupid” and “bad” is
entirely uncorroborated. Moreover, two other students
said during their oral interviews with this
investigator that Ms. Miller did not say anything
about Haiti.There is thus substantial evidence that Ms. Miller
made reference to the children as “animals,” but
insufficient evidence to conclude that she made any
statement about Haiti or Haitians.

To the extent that some school employees who were in
the gymnasium did not hear Ms. Miller make the
comments the students attributed to her, it should be
noted that these employees were in a different part of
the gymnasium from where the incident took place and
were engaged in other duties while the incident took
place. Specifically, House, Robinson and Goode were
on the other side of the gymnasium handling lunch
duties with other students. Thus, the fact that they
did not hear the comments made by Ms. Miller does not
undermine the accounts given by the students.

This investigator did not find Ms. Miller’s account of
the incident to be credible. Her statement that she
believed students had already finished lunch
when she brought them to the gymnasium is belied not
only by the students’ accounts but by Ms. Goode’s
statement that the children brought their lunch.

Moreover, the fact that the students had their lunch
tends to support the students’ statements that some of
them asked to get utensils to eat with, while
undermining Ms. Miller’s assertion that the students
asked her no questions. Although Ms. Miller asserted
that she only told the students that they were
behaving inappropriately, and that she did not make
any derogatory comments, her denial that the children
had lunch undermines her account.

Accordingly, the allegation that Ms. Miller forced
students to sit on the floor while they ate lunch is
substantiated.

The allegation that Ms. Miller did not allow students
to retrieve utensils, resulting in their having to eat
their lunch with their hands, is substantiated.

The allegation that Ms. Miller referred to the
students as “animals” is substantiated.

The allegation that Ms. Miller made disparaging remarks
about Haiti or the children’s country of origin is
unsubstantiated.

During this investigation, it was discovered that on
March 23, Ms. Vertus told Ms. Shakespeare that the
children had reported to her (Ms. Vertus) that they
had been made to sit on the floor during their lunch
period. This raises the question of whether Ms.
Shakespeare failed to report an incident of verbal
abuse to the Office of Special Investigations, as is
required by Chancellor’s Regulation A-421.

According to Ms. Vertus, on March 23, the students
told her that they had been made to sit on the floor
during lunch, but that they did not tell her about any
disparaging remarks or about eating with their
hands.[6]

It does not appear that Ms. Vertus made a
detailed inquiry of the children at this time. She
reported to Ms. Shakespeare what the children had told
her. There is no evidence that Ms. Vertus told Ms.
Shakespeare about any disparaging remarks or
about the children eating with their hands. According
to Ms. Shakespeare, Ms. Vertus told her that the
students were upset because they had been made to sit
on the floor. Ms. Shakespeare had been out of the
school at a conference on that day, and she called Ms.
Miller and asked if any students had been made to
sit on the floor during lunch that day, and Ms. Miller
said none had. Ms. Shakespeare said that it is not
unusual for children to sit on the floor in the
gymnasium during their recess after lunch, as the
children have puzzle and reading time on the floor.

Therefore, she did not think the incident was unusual
at that time. Based upon her demeanor and her
consistent answers to questions, this investigator
found Ms. Shakespeare credible.

While it might have been more prudent for Ms.
Shakespeare to inquire further about the incident
after she spoke to Ms. Vertus and Ms. Miller on March
23, it does not appear that the information provided to her
by Ms. Vertus included any allegations of verbal
abuse, such as calling children “animals” or making
disparaging remarks about Hiati, or any allegation
that the children had had to eat lunch with their
hands. It appears that Ms. Vertus told her only that
children had been made to sit on the floor during
lunch.

Furthermore, there is no evidence that Ms. Shakespeare
learned of the allegations concerning children
eating on the floor with their hands or concerning Ms.
Miller making disparaging comments to the children
prior to March 29, when she learned of the March 28
email to the Chancellor’s Office. Ms. Shakespeare
reported those allegations to OSI the same day she
learned about it. The evidence does not support a
conclusion that Ms. Shakespeare improperly failed to
report an incident.

Accordingly, the allegation that Ms. Shakespeare
failed to report an allegation of verbal abuse in
March is unsubstantiated.

October 2004 incident
During Ms. Theodore’s interview, Ms. Theodore stated
that there had been another incident in October of
last year. According to Ms. Vertus, students in her
class said that in October, Ms. Miller had made
derogatory comments about Haiti to them while they
were lined up in the gym. This investigator then
investigated this alleged incident.

Of the students who were present in the gymnasium on
the day of the alleged October incident, only two,
students B and G, stated that Ms. Miller had made
improper comments. Student B stated that Ms. Miller
made a disparaging comment about Haiti, and Student G
stated that Ms. Miller made a statement about the
students’ country. None of the other students present
reported any such statements. Moreover, when
interviewed about this incident, Student G said that
she had heard someone make a statement about the
students’ country, but did not know who had made that
statement until Student B told her it was Ms. Miller.

Student B, moreover, said that he might have
misunderstood Ms. Miller. There is thus insufficient
evidence to conclude that Ms. Miller made the alleged
statements during the October incident.

Accordingly, the allegation that Ms. Miller made
disparaging statements about Haiti or the students’
country during October is unsubstantiated.

It should also be noted that Ms. Theodore stated that
she informed Ms. Shakespeare in October about the
alleged October statements. This investigator
therefore investigated whether Ms. Shakespeare had
improperly failed to report the October incident.

Ms. Shakespeare stated that no one, including Ms.
Theodore, had told her about the alleged October
incident. When Ms. Miller was interviewed about the
alleged October incident, she denied making the
statements and said she learned from Ms. Theodore that
some students believed she had made them.

In regard to the October incident, Ms. Miller’s account that,
after learning from Ms. Theodore that students
believed she had made the statement, she spoke to the
class about the incident is corroborated by the
students. Ms. Miller’s account supports the
conclusion that Ms. Theodore notified Ms. Miller
directly, rather than notifying the principal, Ms.
Shakespeare. It appears that Ms. Theodore may be
mistaken as to whom she notified about the October
incident, but in any event there is not sufficient
evidence to conclude that Ms. Shakespeare was notified
about the October incident.

Accordingly, the allegation that Ms. Shakespeare
failed to report the alleged October incident of
verbal abuse is unsubstantiated.

SUBMITTED BY:
__________________
Robert T. Small
Confidential Investigator

APPROVED BY:
__________________
Thomas Hyland
Deputy Director




---------------------------------
[1] Ms. Shakespeare informed this investigator that
the portion of the gym where the children eat is
referred to at the school as the lower gym. She also
informed this investigator that the multi-purpose area
is referred to at the school as the multi-purpose
area.

[2] At the time of these student interviews, Ms.
Shakespeare was not a subject of this investigation.

[3] Ms. Shakespeare did not provide a written
statement from Student F.

[4] Because Ms. Vertus stated that on March 23 she had
told Ms. Shakespeare what the children had told her
(Ms. Vertus), and Ms. Theodore indicated that she
believed Ms. Shakespeare knew what the children had
said, Ms. Shakespeare became a subject of this
investigation following the interviews of Ms. Vertus
and Ms. Theodore. This investigator investigated
whether Ms. Shakespeare had improperly failed to
report the March 16 incident.

[5] Some of the students’ written statements to Ms.
Shakespeare do not contain details contained in their
other statements, but this lack of detail in some of
the statements does not undermine the conclusions
reached by this investigator. Student A’s written
statement to Ms. Shakespeare, for instance, does not
contain many of the details in his other statements,
but this investigator found credible Student A’s
explanation that he had not been comfortable talking
to Ms. Shakespeare about the incident. What is most
striking is not the lack of detail in some of the
students’ statements to Ms. Shakespeare but the
relatively consistent version of events the students
give in multiple statements.

[6] Because Ms. Theodore asked Ms. Vertus, on March
23, to listen to the children’s account of the
incident, and Ms. Vertus advised that she would tell
Ms. Shakespeare about the incident, the allegation
that Ms. Theodore failed to report the incident is
unsubstantiated.

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Denounce Canada's role in Haiti: Canadian officials Contact Infomation
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Urge the Caribbean Community to stand firm in not recognizing the illegal Latortue regime:

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zilibutton Slide Show at the July 27, 2004 Haiti Forum Press Conference during the DNC in Boston honoring those who stand firm for Haiti and democracy; those who tell the truth about Haiti; Presenting the Haiti Resolution, and; remembering Haiti's revolutionary legacy in 2004 and all those who have lost life or liberty fighting against the Feb. 29, 2004 Coup d'etat and its consequences
     
 
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