Solely on 2: Bronx principal Emmanuel Polanco accused of shaking down lecturers delivered to NYC from Dominican Republic

NEW YORK – A landmark program to convey lecturers right here from the Dominican Republic to show bilingual schooling is being probed by metropolis and federal investigators amid allegations some had been subjected to a shakedown scheme and threatened with lack of their visas in the event that they did not pay up. 

As CBS2’s Marcia Kramer stories, MS 80 within the Bronx is a faculty in turmoil. CBS2 has realized that its principal, Emmanuel Polanco, has been reassigned by Colleges Chancellor David Banks as metropolis and federal investigators sift by way of a sea of disturbing allegations that a number of lecturers introduced right here from the Dominican Republic had been reportedly compelled by the principal to pay shakedown lease funds or have their visas yanked. 

“I used to be floored by what I heard,” mentioned St. Senator Luis Sepulveda. “I used to be floored. I used to be disturbed… allegations of this type being made, it is virtually a painful expertise as a result of this system was designed to vary the lives of children right here, and the lives of the lecturers.” 

Sepulveda is speaking a couple of first-of-its-kind program launched into by the Division of Schooling this fall that introduced 25 lecturers from the Dominican Republic to show bilingual schooling in metropolis colleges. Ten had been assigned to MS 80. 

It is an essential program. Final 12 months greater than 22% of metropolis college students spoke Spanish as their first language. Almost 14% had been studying English as a second language. 

Sources inform CBS2 the probe began when Sepulveda’s workplace was contacted final month by one of many lecturers assigned to MS 80, charging that she was being compelled by Polanco to pay about $1,800 to lease a single room, or lose her visa. 

Sepulveda went to the Division of Schooling, which took speedy motion. 

Sources inform CBS2:

  • The DOE has obtained emails during which the principal verbally abused a number of of the lecturers 
  • On Oct. 29, Polanco reportedly held a gathering with lots of the lecturers, telling them not cooperate with the probe
  • One of many lecturers went again to the Dominican Republic due to the threats

A spokesman for Banks, who heralded this system when it was first introduced, insisted “we’ll do no matter we are able to to guard and defend our employees from mistreatment associated to their employment.” 

“If the allegations are true, they create issues for individuals who got here right here. These folks got here right here from the Dominican Republic, searching for an ideal alternative for themselves and their households. They left households. They left their jobs,” Sepulveda mentioned. “They shouldn’t be subjected to this.” 

Polanco didn’t return a request for remark. Neither did the group that introduced the lecturers right here. 

The Division of Schooling has employed pro-bono immigration attorneys for every of the lecturers. The company insist it’ll proceed to recruit bilingual lecturers from overseas.