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Farina Orders Probe Of Bronx Middle School Plagued By Violence, Academic Struggles

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) -- The city schools chancellor ordered an investigation of a Bronx middle school that's plagued by violence and bullying, let alone its academic struggles.

A worker at Middle School 50 in the Norwood section of the Bronx told CBS2 Political Reporter Marcia Kramer that she was physically attacked inside the school and doesn't feel safe.

She's apparently not the only on. A spokesman for the Department of Education said the agency is investigating an incident in which two eighth graders reportedly dropped a sixth grader on his head, after which he allegedly passed out and convulsed.

According to published reports violence, disruptive students and other things have been problems at the academically struggling renewal school.

Twenty percent of students passed state English exams last year, and only 15 percent passed math.

One parent was concerned for his daughter's safety.

"My daughter just told me that she's been bullied by a person, I'm here to talk to them about what's going on," Rogelio Cruz said, "Sure I'm worried, of course. My daughter's 12-years-old."

There are also allegations that a move by the principal to replace textbooks with laptops has allowed students to play Minecraft and visit sex sites during class.

"I'll be very honest with you, I think some of these issues have been resolved in the past," Chancellor Carmen Farina said.

While defending the school and its leaders, Chancellor Farina ordered an investigation.

She said the ordered the district superintendent to spend the day at the school asking question.

"I'm very confident that the principal and the leadership team he's put together will do what's right for the kids," she said.

The put the chancellor on a collision course with the teachers union.

"Individually and as a union we have alerted the Department of Education to a slew of bad decisions by this particular principal," UFT Vice President for Middle Schools, Richard Mantell said. "Some changes have been made, but the bulk of our complaints are still outstanding."

The chancellor said that with every school, safety is very important. She said she wants the superintendent to determine if the school needs more help, including an additional safety agent.

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