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Parents Vent About Woes With Principal At Far Rockaway School

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) -- Parents have reported some signs of progress, but many remained frustrated with the principal Wednesday at beleaguered P.S. 106 in Far Rockaway, which has been slammed as the city's worst school with its lack of textbooks and gym classes.

As CBS 2's Dave Carlin reported, the principal of the school was getting such poor marks that she stayed out of view – until Wednesday night.

But principal Marcella Sills declined to answer questions. Seen in exclusive video, she was seen walking backwards with her back to the camera, and then backing her luxury sport-utility vehicle out of the parking lot of the school, at 180 Beach 35th St. in Queens.

Carlin and his crew were not allowed to enter the parent-teacher association meeting Wednesday night, and Carlin also was declined entry without the camera.

But a parent gave CBS 2 a video of PTA President Wendy Pratt struggling to remain order as parents demanded to know why the school -- rocked hard by Superstorm Sandy -- is now rocked again by allegations of neglect and bad leadership.

"My kids have been here since September, and this is the first week they've had art and gym," said parent Jaron Spencer.

Parents said they failed to get sufficient answers about a lack of art, music and gym -- and too many movies.

"Most of the time, like, we watch movies," said second grader Xavier Morales, adding that his class views movies "nearly every day."

Other concerns include Principal Sills' own attendance -- some describe her as constantly tardy. Also noted was a severe shortage of textbooks.

Parents learned at the meeting that a shipment of textbooks just arrived.

"Everything is happening slowly, but surely," said parent Nicole Mays.

But parents exiting the meeting were not satisfied, because they said the principal should have been there to answer their questions.

PTA President Pratt defended Principal Sills, saying, "Nobody's perfect."

She said she supports the principal's controversial school dances.

Parent Tonnice McNeill said earlier this week that Sills required boys to wear tuxedos and girls to wear white dresses for their fifth grade graduation ceremony in June.

McNeill said she paid more than $200 for the event.

Some parents said coughing up cash for gowns and tuxedos is frivolous when the kids lack textbooks but Pratt says argues these dances are valuable.

"It's just to expose the children who've never been out of Far Rockaway so they can see what else is there," Pratt said.

Some parents remained unmoved, demanding an about face from a principal they want to see speak for herself.

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