Gallo discusses former school


Mrs. Stacie Gallo reviews an assignment with junior Dominic Patania.

by James Boisits, Staff Writer

Imagine going to work every day not knowing if you are going to be safe: a job teaching young minds, but at the risk of your own physical health.

Special Education teacher Stacie Gallo lived this life from 1992 to 1999.

After leaving Montclair State University, Gallo pursued teaching. “Coming out of Montclair State, I knew that I liked working with kids,” she said.

Gallo seized an opportunity to teach at the Child Development Center in Bloomfield. The school was for emotionally disturbed and autistic children from ages 5 to 21.

“Working there was difficult because the kids’ lives were difficult and my personality is that no kid should suffer,” Gallo said.

Many of the underprivileged children at this school didn’t have enough food or clothing to last over the weekends.  For these children, school was the safest place for them to be. Gallo took it upon herself to prepare food for them and bring them coats.

“I would make them peanut butter sandwiches so they can eat them on the weekends because some kids didn’t eat on the weekends,” Gallo said.

During her time in the school, Gallo tried to do whatever she could to make the kids’ lives more comfortable. One of her proudest accomplishments was teaching a 14-year-old how to read.

“That was awesome and very uplifting,” Gallo said.

However, her time at the center eventually came to an end due to an injury.

At the school, the teachers were instructed to restrain any fights that broke out. Gallo had to restrain a fight involving a new student.

While restraining the fight, the student, who was bigger than Gallo, pushed her into a door. This injured Gallo’s neck and back.

This ultimately led to Gallo leaving the school.

Gallo now works as a special education teacher here at Glen Rock High School. When she first arrived here it was a wake up call in the new environment she was in.

“It was strange because I was just originally dealing with kids who didn’t have enough resources, and now I was hearing kids complain about their credit cards,” she said. “I grew up in Bergen County so now it was coming back to me.”

Gallo looks back on her time at the Child Development Center as a huge learning experience.

Gallo today seems to be an energetic teacher with a big personality, but that was not who she originally was.

“Growing up I was really shy and got bullied a lot, and working at this school changed my personality a whole lot,” Gallo said.

Gallo is to this day not allowed to communicate with the students she worked with previously. This is because of an incident where a student tried to hunt down and kill one of the teachers.

Eighteen years later Gallo looks back on this experience as one that changed her life.

“Without a doubt it shaped me into what I am today and I would never be that person if I didn’t go there,” she said.

While Gallo thinks that she would never go back there again, she still views it positively in her life.

To Gallo, the Child Development Center in Bloomfield and Glen Rock High School have virtually nothing in common.

“The environment is very different as the kids have different problems and that life is more difficult in certain areas. Glen Rock luckily is an upper middle class town,” she said.