About 20 parents rallied outside a Bernal Heights school this morning, demanding the removal of the school’s principal.
The parents alleged that Sheila Sammon, who took over at Paul Revere PK-8 School in 2010, discriminates against black and Latino families and will not allow parents into the school. They said she had instituted a harsh discipline policy, which involves “silent lunch” and “silent recess,” allegedly held in the school’s basement.
“All we’re saying is, we don’t want her here,” said mother Frances Evans, who is black.
“She does not allow kids during class time to use the bathroom,” said Emma Velasquez, whose 11-year-old daughter attends the school. Speaking in Spanish with a fellow parent translating, Velasquez said that the policy led to humiliating experiences for children, especially older girls who unexpectedly got their periods.
“The kids are scared of her,” Velasquez added.
Mother Eveling Marenco said her young children had a similar experience in the school’s after-school program.
“They let the kids pee in their pants,” she said, in Spanish. “The kids poo and pee because they won’t let them go to the bathroom.”
The parents, who protested outside the school for more than an hour, were organized by the Alliance of Californians for Community Empowerment, a statewide group with offices in The City. Organizer Phillip Pierce said that he and the parents had gathered more than 100 other signatures for a petition demanding Sammon’s removal.
In an interview, Sammon said that the parents’ allegations were untrue.
She noted that she was hired to oversee a reform effort at Revere, which is funded by a federal School Improvement Grant. The reforms, she said, have included a new approach to discipline in which children are required to reflect on misbehavior, sometimes during lunch and recess.
“It’s a time for them to be reflective and complete a reflection sheet,” she said. “By and large, that’s been successful.”