A recent talent show at a New York City special-education school reportedly featured a male staff member performing a skit during which he was dressed like Marilyn Monroe with a skirt flying upward and revealing his underwear — and now the incident is under investigation.
What are the details?
Staten Island Live reported that the Richard H. Hungerford School’s main site in Sunnyside — which serves special-needs students ages 14 through 21 — hosted a June 22 talent show featuring performances by school staff and students.
More from SI Live:
In photos and videos provided to the Advance/SILive.com, which also went viral after they were posted to various social media platforms, a male staff member is seen performing a skit in which he changed into a dress resembling
the iconic one worn by Marilyn Monroe in the 1955 film “The Seven Year Itch.”
The low-quality video begins with the staff member on the school’s stage in slacks and a men’s shirt to the tune of “A Change Would Do You Good,” by singer Sheryl Crow. He then walks over behind a screen, with a photo of Marilyn Monroe on the screen, as he changes out of the clothing and emerges wearing the white Monroe-inspired dress. There was also movement of students and staff walking through the audience, though it’s unclear if they were leaving or entering during the performance.
The staff member then walks over to a table where he seemingly pretends to primp, put on makeup, and a blond Monroe-like wig before walking to center stage. While the video submitted to the Advance/SILive.com cuts off, an electric box fan could also be seen at the front of the stage.
‘Inappropriate’ performance at Staten Island special ed school under NYC investigationyoutu.be
SI Live said a submitted photo shows the staff member standing above the box fan to mimic the “flying skirt” moment from the famous film.
What happened next?
“I do not think these types of performances should be held in front of children, in what is supposed to be a place of high educational value,” a source with knowledge of the performance told SI Live.
Gina Billera — whose 14-year-old, non-verbal autistic son attends the school — told the New York Post that “it’s like they’re forcing them to learn about this. These kids are still young. They shouldn’t be forced to understand this yet. And they’re special-needs kids who may not grasp what’s happening. They like to mimic and copy. How do we know that another kid won’t flash someone?”
The New York City Department of Education has opened an investigation, SI Live said.
“We acknowledge the allegations that a recent performance at the school’s talent show exhibited inappropriate behavior,” Nicole Brownstein, a spokeswoman for the city DOE, told the outlet. “An investigation has been opened with the Special Commissioner of Investigation for the New York City school district, and if conclusive, school leadership will take the necessary steps towards correcting this behavior.”
SI Live said a Thursday morning email to Hungerford School Principal Kristin McHugh went unanswered, as did a call to the school.
New York City Councilman Joseph Borelli received several complaints from parents and other borough residents regarding the video and photo, the outlet said.
“I really can’t think of any scenario where it would be appropriate for a staff member to lift their skirt and show students their underwear,” Borelli added to SI Live. “I don’t even understand the logic that he thought special-needs children born decades after Marilyn Monroe died would even get the reference, if that was his intent somehow.”
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