NEW ROCHELLE, NY — The New Rochelle Board of Education released a statement on the recent incident involving Jennifer Feltenstein, 17, a student at New Rochelle High School.
Feltenstein is confined to a wheel chair due to Cerebral Palsy. She was not evacuated during a building evacuation due to smoking wires in the building.
Special Education Director Yvette Goorevitch stated:
Our Schools are required to develop individual safety plans developed for each student requiring specialized evacuation. Holding rooms are identified and marked in consultation with the Fire Department. Specifics of the plans can be obtained from the schools. I spoke to the father last evening when the student came home and reported her perception of the situation. Joe Starvaggi spoke to the father today and explained the reality of yesterday’s situation. In addition, this student’s access plans have been scrutinized and there were no concerns voiced about her evacuation and safety plan.
Though not a requirement, we have recently ordered evacuation chairs for the HS and they have been obtained. They have rollers on them to facilitate evacuations.
According to a Journal News report by Ken Valenti District spokesperson Paul Costiglio said the fire department and approved placing Feltenstein in a holding room rather than evacuate her.
Jennifer’s father, Rich Feltenstein told Valenti “that neither he nor his daughter had been shown a safety plan for Jennifer. He also said Starvaggi had not talked to him on Friday. He said his daughter was not able to get into the holding room in her motorized wheelchair because the location of the room required her to pivot at the edge of the top of a staircase.”
As anyone reading the site knows, the district has not been too good on updating their safety plans and the father’s account sounds far more credible than Paul Costiglio whose demonstrated lack of familiarity with the truth is well documented.
Here is the real laugher, from Yvette Goorevitch: “Specifics of the plans can be obtained from the schools”. Really? And what plans would those be? The district has not updated their building level plans since 2001 except for the high school plan which was updated in 2006.