Another school bars poor kids from carnival over $10 fee

By Stephanie Pagones and Susan Edelman

Only weeks after a Queens principal was bounced for barring students from a carnival for not paying a $10 entry fee, Staten Island’s Morris Intermediate School 61 has done the same — charging sixth-graders $10 for admission to a school fair.

Kids who couldn’t pay were denied entry to the festivities Wednesday and kept indoors, students and staff told The Post.

One of IS 61’s assistant principals initially denied that the school charged a fee but later said, “There was a charge, but no child was turned away.”

But several students said they or others were barred.

“I couldn’t go because I didn’t bring the money in time,” said one student, whose name is being withheld by The Post.

Her friend added, “I was sad because she’s my best friend and she couldn’t go.”

About 100 students — a quarter of IS 61’s 400 sixth-graders — missed the fun, a staffer estimated. Some were excluded because of bad behavior, but others didn’t pay or just stayed home.

“Many well-behaved kids did not go because they did not or could not pay,” the insider said.

The playground carnival featured games, hamburgers and slushies. It was billed as a reward for students who demonstrated good behavior and academics.

A dean said no qualified kid was barred if they confided that they could not afford the fee. The school let 35 students attend at no charge because they said they were unable to pay, he said.

Asked about those who might not have come forward, he said, “If they didn’t say anything to the school, I wouldn’t know.”

A teacher blasted that excuse.

“Kids are embarrassed,” the teacher said. “They don’t say anything.”

At Flushing’s PS 120, Principal Joan Monroe was reassigned June 12 after she barred nonpaying kids from a May 21 carnival.

The Department of Education later instructed all principals that children “may not be excluded from participating in fund-raising events during school hours.”

This was the first year IS 61 administrators charged a carnival fee, spurring complaints by parents and staff.

In the past, teachers organized a free carnival with games.

Its theme: “Carnival for all.”

IS 61 also charged sixth-graders $30 apiece for a field day two weeks ago. For that event, it rents a facility with basketball courts and a field. Food is provided.

“A lot of kids didn’t go to that because they can’t afford it,” the staffer said.

Where the money raised will be spent was unknown.

“That’s what we all wonder,” the insider said.

​Principal Susan Tronolone did not return several calls from The Post on Friday.​ The DOE said it was looking into the matter.

“We take this very seriously,” said DOE rep Devora Kaye.

This article was originally published in the New York Post on June 28, 2015.

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