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Monika Garg out as East Harlem Principal after year-long fight

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Monika Garg
Monika Garg

Monika Garg, center, shown last month, has stepped aside as the principal of Central Park East 1 in Harlem.

NEW YORK (Diya TV) — After a yearlong war inside New York City’s Central Park East I, a progressive elementary school located in East Harlem, the school’s embattled principal has agreed to step down from her post, New York City’s Education Department said on Monday, handing a victory to parents who had accused her of seeking to dismantle the school’s traditions.

Monika Garg, that principle, will retain her title and salary as a principal but will no longer have a school to run. The department said the change was effective immediately.

This was a dramatic turn of events from just last Friday, when the Education Department announced that it was giving Garg a new supervisor but said that she would remain the principal.

The conflict has consumed the school since 2016, and has created a divide between parents and the school’s staff. Parents and teachers who opposed Garg said she was trying to squelch the school’s progressive spirit by bringing it in line with department rules. They also accused her of instigating investigations against teachers who defied her.

On the other end of the spectrum, parents who supported Garg said that the school, which was originally intended to provide a rich, arts-filled education to the children of East Harlem, had over the years become exclusionary and that its traditions had calcified. Those parents said the investigations of instructors was justified and were in no way conducted in a hostile manner.

For a period which spanned months, the school’s chancellor, Carmen Fariña, had resisted calls to remove Garg from her position. Things seemed to change in recent weeks, when a group of parents occupied the school overnight and then began following Mayor Bill de Blasio around the city. Even so, when the mayor was asked about the situation at an unrelated news conference on Thursday, he did not give any hint that he was pushing the chancellor one way or the other on the issue, saying that parents and teachers were divided and that the loudest group did not have “a monopoly on the truth.”

On Monday, Garg could not be found at the school. At the time, her new supervisor, Dolores Esposito, said she could not say why Garg was not there or whether she would continue as principal.

“We can’t answer that,” she said as she hurried away from a reporter.

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