Bucks County Herald

Parents share concerns at Quakertown elementary school

Parents are urging Quakertown school administrators to solve what they say are serious problems at Tohickon Valley Elementary.

They claim cursing and bullying are commonplace, threats are not addressed properly, bathrooms have obscene drawings, and some classes are out of control.

“The language is horrific at all levels,” said parent Melissa Tomlinson. Christine Urenovich, whose two daughters attend the school, added she was ashamed to send them there.

Although they did not name her, both of these parents are pointing the finger at Principal Dr. Orathia Bradley, who assumed the position in September 2015.

Parents have also pointed to a number of incidents that they say were mishandled over the past 15 months.

In one, a parent, who declined to be identified, claimed her daughter received a death threat. The parent maintains Bradley asked her daughter, 11, how she (the daughter) thought the other student should be punished. The mother said the matter ended with Bradley telling her that the student who made the threat was just kidding.

In another, a man was observed looking into classrooms and taking pictures. Tomlinson told the school board police were never called, and the building wasn’t put under lockdown. Bradley, another parent claimed, went out to confront the man without telling anyone at the school. “If that man had bad intent, he could have gotten her badge to enter school, and everyone in the building would be in harm’s way. That is absolutely frightening,” the parent said.

“She should in no way shape or form be at the helm of our great school, or any school for that matter,” added the parent, who declined to be identified.

In another situation, parents say Bradley purchased a toy gun to give to a student as a reward for meeting a behavioral goal. A teacher at the school alerted administrators, who instructed the principal not to give the child the toy gun. School board policy 218.1 bans any weapons, including replicas, in district buildings or on its properties.

“That is something that never should happen in our building,” said Tomlinson.

Bradley, who didn’t return requests for comment, was a former principal at Welsh Valley Middle School in Montgomery County, where she spent 10 months but was removed weeks before the school year ended and transferred to Gladwyne Elementary. Lower Merion School District denied the move was due to any impropriety.

Assistant Superintendent Nancianne Edwards said she was aware of what had been happening at the school and reassured parents that any issues are investigated and addressed.

Director Stephen Ripper called on teachers to be part of the solution and said administrators were trying to “abate the problem,” which he blamed, in part, on the country’s moral decline.

“Kids are learning things far too early,” he said.

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