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DOE Investigating Far Rockaway School Over Allegations Of Lavish Party, Lack Of Textbooks

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NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – A school in Far Rockaway, Queens is being investigated over allegations that the principal is asking parents to pay for a lavish dance while fellow students don’t even have textbooks.

As CBS 2’s Sonia Moghe reported, PS 106 parent Tonnice McNeill said principal Marcella Sills required boys to wear tuxedos and girls to wear white dresses for their fifth grade graduation ceremony in June.

McNeill said she paid more than $200 for the event.

“We’re struggling. Look where we live at, we’re struggling. For you to make us pay all that just for our kids to graduate. And then if they couldn’t afford it, they couldn’t attend,” McNeill told Moghe.

The school is still struggling to recover from superstorm Sandy, much like many of the families, Moghe reported. PS 106 lost a building to the Oct. 2012 storm and students still attend class in trailers.

“They had a gym class, they had art, they had science. That building – the trailer on this side – was the science building and I don’t know what happened after Sandy,” parent Elke Mashama said.

“My son stated that he also does not have certain textbooks,” added PS 106 parent Erica Morgan-Spencer.

New York City Department of Education officials are looking into allegations of students not having enough textbooks and the principal requiring parents to pay for a lavish party, Moghe reported.

“I don’t know why there would be a party where they’d have to pay this exorbitant amount of money. It’s not really adding up for me,” Mashama added.

DOE Deputy Chancellor Dorita Gibson met with principal Marcella Sills at the school to look into these allegations.

“We came out here this morning because we were concerned. About what was happening and we wanted to make sure that instruction is going on.

Queens Borough President Melinda Katz said she’s happy officials are paying attention to storm-ravaged schools.

“You need to go back, look to see what needs to be expanded and fixed because of the storm. I don’t think that’s been done,” she told Moghe.

The deputy chancellor will release a report in the next week or so with her findings but told Moghe she felt that teachers were able to teach under the circumstances.

Some parents said their children come home with photocopied versions of their books, Moghe reported.

CBS 2 was unable to reach Sills for comment.

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