There is a sense of fear gripping students as they walk through the halls of PS 101, and it isn’t a sixth-grade bully stealing lunch money they are worried about.
Richard Parlini, the Forest Hills teacher who was removed from the classroom in September after multiple substantiated cases of physically and verbally abusing his students, is earning over $75,000 in a new role at the school.
A Department of Education official said Parlini’s new position is technology instructional support, a job created at the school this school year.
He provides data analysis and prepares classroom materials for other teachers and earns $76,602 per year, but a number of parents say that, while he is no longer teaching students, his presence in the building and in the hallways still frightens many children.
“He still sees our kids in the hallway and says hello,” said Tom Renna, the first vice president of the school’s parents association and the father of a PS 101 student. “There was an older child who was insulted and told his little sister about him. Now she’s afraid of him when she sees him.”
Last year, Parlini was removed from the school after he grabbed a student by the neck and shook him in front of the child’s friends. Two years earlier, he shoved the same student to the ground. Both claims were substantiated by the Department of Education.
Numerous other claims of physical and verbal abuse have been lodged against Parlini, and dozens of parents, along with Councilwoman Karen Koslowitz (D-Forest Hills), protested his reinstatement outside the school in September.
A spokesman for Koslowitz said the Council member was unaware of Parlini’s status at the school but “she is satisfied that the main objective has been achieved: Mr. Parlini is no longer teaching in a classroom at PS 101.”
Renna and a handful of mothers, including Parent Association President Christine Gendreau and Second Vice President Maria Kaufer, made their feelings known at an Oct. 29 Panel for Education Policy hearing attended by Schools Chancellor Carmen Fari–a.
In asking Fari–a and the panel for help, Gendreau said explaining Parlini’s presence in the school to frightened students and parents is an impossible task.
“What I’m being asked by my own children is, ‘Mom, am I safe to go to school where I know there’s a teacher who has hurt another child?’” Gendreau said. “I’m also being asked by parents, ‘Christine, are my children safe in that school?’ What can we tell these parents?”
Kaufer said the positive environment the school used to foster has long dissipated.
“Truthfully, I used to go to that school and it was joyful. It was a pleasure to walk through those halls,” Kaufer said, her voice temporarily quivering with emotion. “It makes me very sad now every time I walk in the building because I know children are afraid.”
The United Federation of Teachers did not respond to an inquiry for comment by press time.