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City union leader observed new safety measures at McKinley

"They were wanding the students as they came in"
McKinley shooting
Posted at 5:12 PM, Mar 08, 2022
and last updated 2022-03-08 17:12:12-05

BUFFALO, NY (WKBW) — The Buffalo Public School District scrapped plans to continue returning McKinley High School students in phases.

Instead all students returned Monday for in-person learning.

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Outside McKinley High School in Buffalo.

McKinley freshman, sophomores, juniors and seniors were staggered for return following last month's shooting and stabbing outside the school.

Two teens have been charged. A 14-year-old student continues to recover from ten stab wounds.

Buffalo Teachers Federation President Phil Rumore visited McKinley Tuesday morning as students were arriving.

Rumore said he observed the "wanding" of students.

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Buffalo Teachers Federation President Phil Rumore in Zoom interview.

“I went to the school and they were wanding the students as they came in, making them take off their hoods — it was kind of crowded,” described Rumore.

Rumore said he was asked by the school to come back after students completed their arrival. Rumore planned to return later Tuesday.

Rumore tells 7 News Senior Reporter Eileen Buckley he's taking a survey of all McKinley teachers to find out if they believe new security measures are sufficient.

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Buffalo Teachers Federation President Phil Rumore in Zoom interview.

“And Eileen, the bottom line is this it's not what I think. It's not what anybody in the district thinks. It's what the people in the schools, including the students — know what they need to have to make the schools safe for the learning of all that go into and out of the schools,” replied Rumore.

Rumore said he also believes the city school district needs to reach out to other districts to find out what works best for school safety.

A district statement noted on Saturday the team reviewed all implemented safety measures and determined the reset plan is “solid”.

"The McKinley Community worked tirelessly to ensure there was a plan in place to keep the students, faculty and staff safe. The schedule for the second week was a "potential" schedule in the event that the McKinley Community needed additional time. Each day at the end of day, the team collaborated to address areas that needed to be tightened up.

As of Friday 3/4/22, at the end of the day, the team met and reviewed all implemented safety measures and determined that the McKinley Re-Set Plan is solid. BPS looks forward to the safe return of every Mack on this coming Monday!"

Ka'Ron Barnes, Special Assistant to the Superintendent for Community Relations

The city’s leader of the teachers union said teachers told him they were concerned about receiving the “late notification” over the weekend to return fully on Monday.

Rumore is also critical of the McKinley principal taking a vacation this week.

Newly named Principal Moustafa Khalil is out on a planned vacation. He was appointed last month by former city schools superintendent Dr. Kriner Cash, who recenlty resigned.

Associate superintendent Toyia Wilson will be overseeing the school while Khalil is on vacation.

But Rumore said why would he go on vacation when the school is trying to regroup after such a difficult time.

Rumore questions if it was authorized by the school board.

“I think the district and he owes it to everybody for a good explanation as to why it occurred — that's only fair. If there are some good reasons for it and the district agreed to it then I think everybody should be made aware of what the problem was or what the issues were,” remarked Rumore.

Rumore said his union also plans to survey all city school teachers following the McKinley teacher survey to see what concerns they have about school safety.

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Family members anxiously await word outside school.

“The violence problems are not just in the high schools. They are occurring in the elementary schools and we feel not only should just the high schools have security officers in them, but all schools should have security officers so that the students feel safe,” Rumore remarked.