* (angi_is_altered) wrote in ontd_political,

Kid shrink 'shushed'

The headmaster of a pricey lower Manhattan private school fired a school psychologist for reporting possible parental abuse of a troubled teen, a new lawsuit alleges.

The seventh-grade boy at Claremont Preparatory School had cuts and bruises from a fight with his mom and told a teacher that she hit him, school shrink Gabriella Johr alleged.

But headmaster Irwin Shlachter instructed Johr not to report the evidence to the city Administration for Children's Services, she says in a suit filed in Manhattan Supreme Court.

Shlachter opposed the report because of his friendly relationship with the boy's family, she charges.


Administrators also allegedly feared a backlash from other parents, who pay $31,500-a-year tuition for kindergarten through ninth grade at the Financial District school.

State law requires anyone who works with children to report suspected maltreatment.

"No one should have to choose between following your professional and ethical obligations to children and keeping your job," Johr, 35, told The Post.

Shlachter refused to discuss the suit. Officials at Claremont's parent company, MetSchools Inc., which runs 10 private schools in Manhattan, Brooklyn and Queens, also would not comment.

The turmoil started April 8, when the school nurse called Johr to evaluate the seventh-grader, who had scratches on his arms and a swollen eye. He said his mom had clawed and elbowed him while trying to take away his computer.

A few months before, the boy and his mother "cursed and pushed each other" in the school gym, and he told a teacher he didn't want to go home with his mom because "she hits him," according to court papers.

But Shlachter and the head of the middle school, Jane Eisenstadt, argued against calling the ACS, saying the boy's parents were cooperating and willing to attend family therapy, the suit says.

"There will be hell to pay" if Johr defied him, the suit quotes Shlachter as saying. "You don't want to get on my bad side -- when you do, I'm vicious."

When she refused to back down, Shlachter fired Johr, who met with an ACS investigator but was never informed of the results.

An ACS spokeswoman said the agency would look into Johr's allegations.


I see a L&O: SVU episode "inspired" by this to air in the spring.


Tags: children
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