Parents Suing DOE Saying Its Investigation Of PS 184 Is Hurting Students

NEW YORK (CBS 2) — One of the top public schools in Manhattan is under investigation and its long-time principal has been removed. But a group of parents say the investigation is hurting the students and destroying the school. So they’re now suing the Department of Education.

The halls of PS 184, known as Shuang Wen School on the Lower East Side, are filled with more than 600 children who are taught in English and Chinese.

While the school earned an “A “from the DOE and was named a Blue Ribbon School, some parents say their children are being cheated due to an ongoing investigation and the removal of principal Ling Ling Chou, who has headed the school since it opened in 1998.

The DOE started investigating the school 3 years ago over it’s financial and enrollment practices. It removed principal Chou over the summer. Parents say the cloud of controversy is ruining their school.

The DOE has frozen more than $400,000 raised by the parent association as it investigates several allegations, including questionable wire transfers to China-based companies and funding for after-school programs.

The parents say investigators are going too far by questioning students without parental consent.  Trinh Eng says her son was frightened.

“This is in his words, ‘mom there were 2 FBI agents that came to the school and pulled children out of classes,'” Eng told CBS 2’s Cindy Hsu.

They were not FBI agents, but investigators from the DOE. Now parents have filed a lawsuit against the DOE, claiming the school is being unfairly targeted and the investigation needs to concluded before the students lose out.

“The school is really declining at a rapid pace,” parent Vincent Wong said.

Parents want the DOE to end the investigation so their kids can get back to the lesson of learning. Parents also said they hired a forensic accountant to go over the schools finances and no evidence of impropriety was found.

What do you think of the investigation by the DOE?  Share your thoughts in the comments section…

More from Cindy Hsu
  • David

    To the anonymous coward, you are a disgrace to the Occupy Wall Street movement. That movement is all about the voice of the 99% against the injustice of the 1%. When it comes to Shuang-Wen, you are the putrid 1% against the voice of the 99%. When I read commentaries related to Shuang-Wen, all I see are unwavering support for the school except for your malicious vilifications and unproven accusations. You should be in the Tea Party. Your behavior would make Eric Cantor proud. Do not bother to respond if you do not provide your name. I’ve already wasted enough time on cowards.

  • Disguisted

    You’ve got a City agency working with a CRIMINAL whose MO is to threaten and intimidate anyone who gets in his way. YOu’ve got ex-cops interrogating 8-year olds because older kids will just walk away or complain. Why am I paying taxes for this farce? Get back to the business of education or have you forgotten how to do that?

  • Sounds familiar

    Dear CBS,

    Please post some kind of message to acknowledge that a particular comment was removed because certain replies to that comment now look as if they are being attributed to another comment by EILEEN HSU. The original comment which has since been removed was titled “A thief is a thief” and my comment was meant to reply to that.

    PLeas emake some kind of correction or please remove my comment since it is now being incorrectly attributed to Eileen Hsu” comment.

    Thank you.
    p.s. this is my second try to correct the situation

  • OneShuangWenParent

    Hello CBS

    Some earlier comments I posted: “Present your proof, please” and “Thanks for proving my point, Sum Ting Wong” are responses to posts that have been deleted. So now my posts look like they are retorts to posts that I actually agree with. Please delete these two responsive posts of mine.

    Thanks for hearing us.

  • Lee Momshum

    DOE has destroyed the school and it will have to be held accountable.

    Conspirators who helped the DOE on this destruction will be accountable one way or another.

    Children of NYC are the victims.

    Ms. Lingling – we love you! We will fight this battle together, and justice will be served!

  • L.Z

    I really liked the china trip it was very good, we loved the trip. it was alot of experince, and we stayed at a five star hotel, Ms Ling Ling try her best to take care of all the shuangwen school student, she is nice principal , we love her forever. please “SAVE SHUANGWEN”.

  • Other Law Suits Against the NYC DOE

    The other two lawsuits against DOE (that we know of) that allege discrimination or disparate impact against Asian Americans are:
    1. Stanley Ng. et al. v. NYC DOE. Filed in U.S. District Court, Eastern District of New York, November 2007, by the Center for Individual Rights. Case concluded.

    2. Advocates For Children of New York (AFC) and Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund (AALDEF) v. DOE. Filed in NY State Supreme Court, June 2011.

  • It is not racism just 1 asian thief

    People why are you making this so racist.This has to do wit a educator who used funds for things not school related.once it all comes out you can crawl back under your rocks.I hear they are merging a charter school there so big changes on the way.In the real world when someone steals they go to jail if she is innocent then she has receipts to prove it.Peace I have to protest wall street now .

    • Joane

      No doubt there is Racism

      You need to ask yourself, “Are we living in a country where one is innocent until proven guilty?” If the answer is yes, then it is racism when the DOE got nothing to show for its allegations after so many years of “investigations” – investigations that involved interrogating little children about whether they were forced to perform in a Lunar New Year performance.

      • Joane

        And children at Shuang Wen perform happily at this annual event, where families were invited to see the performances. Obviously no one was forced! Anyone who did not want to perform were permitted to stay out, which the DOE knows. Has anyone ever accused educators of “forcing” children to perform in a show? Only the DOE would send a menacing ex-police officer to interrogate children about this, which truly terrified children. That’s why the parents are suing the DOE. My tax dollars are not to be spend on ex-police officers interrogating little children.

    • Absolutely No Racism Here. Really.

      No, it clearly is not racism at all. It’s just an Asian thief. Even if there are receipts and even if the students can attest to the fact that they did get to go on the graduating trip that year, she’s still ASIAN and the travel company is still CHINESE!!! C’mon people don’t you see? Three years and millions of dollars of public money wasted by the DOE is absolutely justified. Who needs evidence when we have have an ASIAN person who paid a CHINESE travel company for a student trip to CHINA on the loose?

      • marianne ogrady

        only thievery here is DoE, using taxpayer’s money to harass this minority community. How many millions of dollars has the DoE burned through over these several years and not produced any evidence of wrongdoing? How many resources burned through with the ensuing chaos at the school after abruptly dismissing the principal (again, with no evidence of wrongdoing)? DoE OSI = secret police – no accountability whatsoever.

  • OneShuangWenParent

    One last thing:


    There was a federal lawsuit against DOE by a group teachers who had all reached a certain level of seniority — under DOE’s own rules — who found themselves facing investigation for false charges of misconduct. Many of them were thrown in the rubber room for months, if not years. They sued, claiming that the DOE was harassing them to make them leave their jobs so that new teachers could be hired who could be paid less money. Their case is Teachers4Action v. Bloomberg, Docket No. 08-CV-548, Judge Marrero. It was settled out of court, and the settlement is under seal. Pretty handy, don’t you think?

    There is another case against the DOE alleging anti-Asian discrimination — Ng v. DOE. Unfortunately, I don’t have the docket number for that one.

    Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund (AALDEF) has also joined in yet another lawsuit against DOE regarding misconduct that disparately impacts Asian-Americans. I’m sorry I don’t have that information either, but you can probably get it from them.

    And just in case I wasn’t clear — the four harassing, menacing parents I described in my last message are also known to be the authors of most of the false complaints against Shuang Wen School.

    • OneShuangWenParent

      Thanks for proving my point, Sum ting Wong. Do you work for DOE?

    • zerorevealed

      hi ed primus

    • Stuy kid

      One word: Racist.

  • OneShuangWenParent

    DOE doesn’t like high-achieving kids, especially if they are disproportionately Asian. Never mind that kids of other races have also been doing fantastically well at Shuang Wen.

    Almost ALL (95%) of these dozens of FALSE complaints against the school, that the DOE is so zealously investigating, target the Asian-ness of the school. There are complaints about its Lunar New Year program, about its Asian majority, about money going to its Mandarin-language after-school program, about kids leaving school one afternoon to celebrate the most important holiday in Chinese culture, about the 8th grade China trip, etc., etc., etc.

    Meanwhile, the DOE did NOTHING to stop the four parents who were falsely accusing parent volunteers of crimes, threatening them with death by knife and fire, and spewing anti-Chinese slurs and hatred. Why? Because these four, as it turned out, were the DOE’s enforcement arm in the community. There is strong evidence at this point of DOE collusion and support for them.


    It is not just bloated and incompetent. It also harbors people who promote hatred of minorities and divisions in communities.

  • Parents of 2 lovely children at Shuang Wen

    Mr. Walcott, You need to get involved, Put Children First!

    This year Shuang Wen’s academic achievement is the top in NYC. 13 years of tiredless work and dedication in exchange for such disgrace of “Rubber Room” treatment from the DOE. What did the the principal do? What did my children do? The entire school community was devastated by the removal of the principal and the many unwelcomed changes implemented by the interim acting pirncipal. Many of us parents gave up other gifted school or program to attend this school because of its excellence. None of us did anything wrong and all we are asking is let the children finish where they started. Stop the endless bullying, stop the endless harassments, stop the lies! Please think of our children for once!! Dear Ms Ling Ling, You are the loving mother of the school. We miss you dealy. My children told me they miss having you checking up on them at their classroom door, they miss seeing you serving them food at the lunch room, they miss you kindness and your presence. We all await your return and we will not stop fighting until justice is served!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Frostie

    The author of this article should proof it before publishing…
    “…..needs to concluded before the students lose out.
    There is a word mssing after To and before Concluded.

  • EH

    am one of many distraught Shaung Wen parents who couldn’t keep silence of this unfair act from the DoE. Principal Ling-ling Chou’s enthusiastic working for P.S.184M Shuang Wen School has lead the school to be the Blue Ribbon School and the top performance school in the city this year. In return, the DOE remove this endless hard working principal from her position after 13 years of being a devoted principal for DOE., The DOE — despite over 3 years of accusations, allegations and investigations — has not come up with any proof of wrongdoing and still “reassigned” her from her position! I couldn’t believe this is how DoE rewards Principal Ling-ling Chou’s success?!?!?!

    This is the message I want to send to all of you that represents the view of the majority of the parents at P.S. 184M:
    Principal Ling-ling Chou is second to none educator. Her delectation to the school and vigorous work done to the kids is beyond anyone can imagine. She is the success of DOE, without her, we won’t have such height prefer school to attend. The DOE’s actions against Principal Ling Ling Chou are “unconstitutional”. WE WANT DOE TO BE REINSTATED BACK TO P.S. 184M.

    Parent of 2 boys in P.S. 184M

  • Eileen Hsu

    Shuang Wen (PS 184M) had the highest overall score in Manhattan from the Department of Education’s (DOE’s) annual report cards this year. But the endlessly hard working principal Ms. Ling Ling Chou was mistreated by the DOE!

    The DOE — despite over 3 years of accusations, allegations and investigations — has not come up with any proof of wrongdoing and still “reassigned” her from her position! The DOE’s actions against Principal Ling Ling Chou are “unconstitutional”.

    I can’t stop wonder what kind of country am I living in?

    • OneShuangWenParent

      Present your proof, please. You have had three years, and still no proof. Not one iota.

    • Sounds familiar

      This is a perfect sample of the wrtiing style – purposely imitating a non-English native of Chinese grammar pattern – that were used in threatening notes left in the principal’s office, on the walls of hallways and to staff. It is also a perfect example of the twisting of factual items to suit fabricated claims and basically this person is a liar who has no qualms about using facts to pursue a personal agenda of destroying the school.

      The $ went to agencies charged with competitively finding the best value for the travel group of students and chaperones for food, lodging, transportation, guides, museums, tickets to cultural sites, etc. – basically all the parts that go into making a trip of this magnitude successfull for the students. People do this all over the world when they search for vacation package deals – what is so different about getting the best deal and value plus security for our students in a foreign country on a celebratory cultural visit. Something that will not happern any more to future classes becaue of lies and fabrications this person and others have promoted to the DoE.

      Do you think that all these things just take care of themselves and fall into place without careful input and planning? You are a joke! If the truth hits you in the face, you would not want to believe it so what does that make you?

  • LHC

    The bigger question here is “What is the long-term plan the DOE has for Shuang Wen?” Why all the lengthy investigations for an “A” school? P.S. 184 is in the top 25% of all NYC public schools, the DOE should focus their attention on the other 75%; particularly the ones that scored a “C’ or below (40%). It is about protecting our children’s education at P.S. 184 and the DOE is currently an inhibitor. What happened to the motto “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it”. Can someone bubble that up to Chancellor Dennis Walcott?

  • Race to the Bottom

    The “questionable” wire transfers were payments for an 8th grade educational trip to China. The funds were raised by parents and donated by a private foundation. It was paid to a travel agency in China, because the trip was to…China. How difficult is this for the DOE to comprehend this? Why is this questionable? Simply because the companies are Chinese?

    Why is the DOE wasting million of dollars of taxpayer money to investigate these allegations for OVER THREE YEARS? Have they found any evidence that warrants their outrageous tactics used against children or dedicated educators? Why isn’t the DOE using public $ to improve the education of ALL children?

    The DOE has been in control of the admissions lottery since 2006 at P.S. 184M. Are they wasting taxpayer money to investigate themselves?

  • Discrimination Abounds

    Asians are blamed for every ill in American society. This is an ultra-racist country, and Asians get the brunt of it. The Hills Have DEEPSET Eyes. I’ll bet Americans are shorting Asian stocks relentlessly. Someone always has to pay the Piper.

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