Three years later, an end to Beacon HS Cuba trip investigation

When we posted the report about the tragic field trip taken by students at Columbia Secondary School, we noted that it had arrived in record time, less than a month after sixth-grader Nicole Suriel drowned at Long Beach. Today, we received a report that reflects a more typical timeline for the Special Commissioner of Investigation.

Today’s report is about a trip that several Beacon High School students took to Cuba — in 2007. A three-year investigation revealed that Beacon students had traveled to Cuba in previous years, that Principal Ruth Lacey had opposed the 2007 spring break trip, and that a Beacon teacher organized a trip anyway, with the help of a pacifist nonprofit. All of this should make headlines, except that newspapers reported most details within days of the group’s return — when the teacher, Nathan Turner, and five students were stopped while trying to reenter the country.

SCI chief Richard Condon is recommending that Turner, a Communist who posted pictures of Fidel Castro in his classroom, not be allowed to work in city schools. That would have been a useful recommendation two years ago, before Turner resigned from Beacon.

Why the delay? It’s unlikely that Condon’s office was preparing reports about charges of systemic misconduct, such as grade-changing and test-tampering, but one can only hope.