*The Department of Education (DOE) has released a statement that says the investigation into Jeanene Worrell-Breeden, 49, principal at Teachers College Community School in New York City has been concluded due to her passing.
Worrell-Breeden took her life on April 17 by jumping in front of the B train at the 135th Street station in New York City. It was one day after her 47 students had completed the Common Cores test, a high-pressured English and math test given by the state. They had been working on the test over a three day period.
The test is said to have been especially stressful for Worrell-Breeden, who had numerous personal setbacks; had previously been investigated at another school and wanted to prove herself at the fledgling Harlem-based school. The principals annual salary was $135,000.
Worrell-Breeden committed suicide at 9:20 a. m. on the same day a whistle-blower came forth and reported the cheating to DOE officials.
A June 22 letter sent to families by Superintendent Gale Reeves said, “The integrity of the assessment was compromised due to actions outside your child’s control.”
Parents had already been told in a previous meeting with Reeves that their children’s tests had been “red-flagged” and “invalidated.”
With little to none of their questions being answered by the DOE, which administers the exams, the flustered parents turned to politicians for help; reaching out to Assemblyman Keith Wright, but to no avail.
On Friday, the DOE placed all the blame on the late principal.
“Principal Worrell-Breeden was the subject of allegations of testing improprieties,” spokeswoman Devora Kaye said. “An investigation substantiated these allegations, and we closed the investigation following her tragic passing.”
No details were given as to how Worrell-Breeden allegedly cheated on or tampered with the tests.
“The children didn’t do anything wrong, and the teachers didn’t do anything wrong,” Diane Tinsley, the mother of one of the third-graders, quoted Reeves as saying.
But Reeves did not elaborate and refused to explain the comment.
Worrell-Breeden was founder of the Teachers College Community School. The school partnered with Columbia University’s Teacher’s College and served pre-K to third grade.
Watch the video below where the now late principal welcomes families to the ribbon cutting ceremony showcasing TCC’s new playground in 2011.