Attack on snacks? After a series of repeated incidents dubbed as a “pattern of toxicity,” 64 parents are attempting to oust Debra Mastriano, the principal of P.S. 166 on West 89th Street.
In a letter to District Superintendent Kamar Samuels (first reported by The New York Post), Mastriano’s behavior is called into question — specifically related to her stringent policies regarding sweet treats. The 66-year-old educator reportedly forced a kindergarten student she deemed “overweight” to throw out their birthday cake, demanded another child trash a candy bar and even habitually hides chips in the cafeteria. Despite being confronted at a recent staff meeting over a donut-ditching debacle, the head honcho brushed off the complaints, saying it was an isolated incident and she “wanted them to be healthy.”
It doesn’t stop at snack snafus — parents and fellow employees allege that Mastriano has expressed racist views on numerous occasions. Negative, racially-charged comments regarding a nearby NYCHA building have been heard by a whopping 70% of respondents in an April teachers union poll. She also reportedly griped that the school was becoming “too Asian.” She’s also known for unorthodox punishments, including making students eat lunch standing up or walking in a series of circles at recess.
Needless to say, her leadership abilities are not sitting well with faculty and families alike — on December 1, there was a no-confidence vote, resulting in 28 educators and over 73 current or former parents deeming Mastriano unfit to rule the school. No one voted in her favor.
According to a Department of Education poll, the average approval rating of NYC principals clocks in at 85 percent. That’s not the case at P.S. 166, where only 14 percent of faculty are satisfied. The next step in this unsavory situation remains to be seen, but Samuels is said to be investigating all allegations.