Bronx middle school principal shut down popular fitness program — so she could have bigger office

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THE BRONX (PIX11) — The Principal at the Globe Middle School in the Bronx was so desperate to avoid our questions, she stomped on the gas of her Mercedes Benz to exit the school parking lot, then sped down a one way street going the wrong way to get away from us!

She nearly caused a head on collision with another car turning the corner onto the block. The principal, Rashaunda Shaw, is no stranger to controversy. She was featured in a New York Post article a few years ago, when she was Principal of a Harlem middle school. The Post called the school a “school from hell.”

After moving to the Globe School last year, it wasn’t long before she made a lot of students, teacher and parents very angry. It seems Shaw wasn’t happy with her office, the same office all the former principals had used.

So she eliminated the very popular Fitness Center, which served all the students in the four middle schools that are housed in the same building on Barnes Avenue in the Bronx. She had the fitness room converted into her own private office with a private bathroom.

“I think it’s sad because it was a great program”, says Steve Millett, the now retired physical education teacher who started the fitness program at the school more than 30 years ago.

The Fitness Center, outfitted with weightlifting machines, free weights, mats and lots of other equipment, was used to teach strength, conditioning, and sports skills. Programs were held there before and after school. It was so popular, students came on their own time, says Millett. “Kids would show up at 7 o’clock in the morning.”

When one student, who participated in the programs for two years, was asked “Did you hear they did away with the fitness room?” he responded, “Yeah, I really think that’s a terrible idea man. A lot of people had really benefited from it. When I started, I was overweight. That trimmed down my weight and made me feel confident about myself.”

Shaw has repeatedly refused to answer questions about the fitness center, her new office, or anything else. After speeding away from us to avoid our questions, we did get a statement from a Department of Education spokesperson.

“The room that was converted was a weight-lifting room used, in past years, by some D.O.E. employees to exercise, mostly after school. It was never used by students,” the statement said.

But we have many pictures in our report of students using the fitness room, and they couldn’t believe what the D.O.E. said. “Oh man, that is a big lie. There was a lot of students,” said one. “No, that’s a lie, they’re telling a lie right there,” said one angry parent, whose son regularly used the fitness room. “To have the Board of Education say it never happened takes away from our history,” said Millett.

The Board of Education later revised its statement saying students did use the fitness room, but that was many years ago. But that statement was also labeled a lie by students and teachers who say it was an active fitness center right up to the time the Rashaunda Shawn had it converted into her new office.

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