I had to reply to the news reports about Joseph Anderson, the boy who was handcuffed and taken from PS 153 in Maspeth to the psychiatric ward of Elmhurst Hospital after he became uncontrollable in class.
This had to be an isolated incident because I have been a parent of a child in special education at the school for two years and I have never heard of something like this happening there. I volunteer at the school almost every morning and have never seen any of the staff acting any other way but professional and gentle with the students there.
I am also an alumna of the school and never heard of a child being mistreated at the school while I was there for seven years as a student.
My daughter is a special education student in first-grade at PS 153. When she first started there in kindergarten, she had tantrums in class. Her teacher would call the guidance counselor down and they would calm my daughter down. No handcuffs or police were needed. My daughter has been tantrum-free in school for more than one year now.
I know I was not there when the incident with Joseph took place, but I believe we do not know the whole story. I do not think the staff would overreact based on my experience with them.
There are 1,400 students in the gifted program, special education and general education at PS 153 and when I am there they are orderly. I am amazed at how they handle so many children every day with so few problems.
PS 153 is still a good school. My daughter is the third generation of my family to attend the school. Even after this incident I would still recommend this school to people in the neighborhood.
Charlene L. Stubbs