Department of Education removes principal at Queens middle school

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Henry Schandel, the former principal of M.S. 158 Marie Curie in Bayside, has been removed from his post after several students were harmed in separate incidents in the school last year. 

Schandel will now serve as assistant principal at another school, according to the Department of Education. 

The Bayside campus, located at 46-35 Oceania St., was thrusted into the spotlight during the last academic year, where students detailed disturbing incidents at the hands of fellow classmates. 

The incidents included an eighth-grade student who endured months of sexual harassment from her male classmate and another incident where a student forcibly put a finger in another student’s rectum.  

Although both incidents resulted in arrests, parents of the two victims said the students were never suspended and that Schandel failed to adequately address their concerns, the NY Post reported. Chaos had also escalated at the school when two female students were caught on video in a violent lunchroom brawl. 

During a highly contentious meeting in January, Carranza walked off the stage where both teachers and parents complained of deteriorating classroom safety and lack of discipline from administrators. 

Schandel, who was principal of Marie Curie for four years, will be replaced by Acting Interim Principal Peter McHugh, officials said. 

Marie Curie will begin the process of hiring a permanent principal on September 16 to ensure the school community plays a central role, according to the DOE. 

McHugh recently served as the Guidance Manager/Climate and Culture Manager at the Queens North Borough Office. 

In his role, McHugh provided educators and school leaders of the 168 schools in Districts 24, 25, 26 and 30 with support and professional development in building schools, crisis interventions, therapeutic practices, social-emotional education, and building positive school cultures, including direct work with Marie Curie in the second half of the 2019-20 school year. 

McHugh has 20 years of experience in public education and began his career as a social studies teacher at Richmond Hill High School. He served eight years as an assistant principal at Robert Moses Middle School in Suffolk County and the Choir Academy of Harlem. 

“The young people of Queens and all of New York City went through so much these past few months and I will support Marie Curie in being a place of safety, structure, and rigorous learning,” McHugh said. “As a former District 26 parent myself, nothing is more important to me than providing a learning environment that uplifts our students and prepares them for their next steps in life.” 

District 26 Superintendent Danielle Giunta will introduce McHugh to the school community at the start of the school year to ensure there is a smooth transition into the fall. 

“Mr. McHugh is an invaluable resource in providing care and support for students recovering from trauma – something our young people need now more than ever,” Giunta said. “He will provide steady, professional, and engaged leadership to the students, staff, and families of Marie Curie during this transitional period.” 

This story first appeared on our sister publication qns.com.