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Buffalo teachers call for immediate removal of McKinley Principal

Posted at 4:40 PM, Jan 25, 2019
and last updated 2019-01-26 09:24:21-05

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WKBW) — The BTF Council of Delegates along with over one hundred representatives of Buffalo Schools have called for the immediate removal of temporary principal Marck Abraham as an administrator at McKinley High School according to the Buffalo Teachers Federation.

The BTF states McKinley has become an unsafe environment under learning conditions have deteriorated under Abraham's leadership, and there was a vote of "no confidence" taken in January 2018.

The release states there have been several incidents between students and teachers, one which resulted in "serious lacerations" to the back of a male teacher.

BTF President Phil Rumore released a statement on the matter early Friday evening:

“While we commend the students who are doing well, we cannot accept the increasingly dangerous safety and learning conditions or the Principal’s insulting behavior towards a woman teacher. One teacher was already severely injured, there are hundreds of students in fights, the Principal has instituted ‘Detention Parties’ for late or disruptive students, student suspensions are being changed to student absences and it is not getting better. What will it take before the Superintendent and School Board act to ensure that there is a safe learning environment at McKinley… something more horrific than the recent assault on a teacher? – We hope not. That a teacher who was severely injured by a student is put on administrative leave, while the principal who is responsible for ensuring the safety of the students and teachers remains, is unconscionable. If a teacher had done what this principal has done and is doing, that teacher would be fired. Yet this principal is praised! Punish the teachers who are responsible for all the improvements in the District, reward and praise the administrator(s) who are responsible for the unsafe teaching and learning environment. What has this school District become?”
Phil Rumore, BTF President

7 Eyewitness News reached out to the District for comment on the matter, a district representative says they stand by this statement:

The Buffalo Public Schools are in full turnaround mode. Due to strategic innovation within the Education Bargain, graduation rates are rising, student growth and achievement scores are rising, innovation is a hallmark attribute, and the district is providing greater programmatic access, quality, and opportunity for all students than ever before. McKinley High School under the leadership of Principal Marck Abraham, engenders this spirit of transformation as well as any high school in the city. For example, during Mr. Abraham’s principalship, the graduation rate at McKinley has increased to 84%, higher than the state average. Within this impressive statistic, the graduation rate of McKinley’s black male students, one of the largest concentrations of this population in New York state, reached 87%, more than 20 percentage points higher than the state average of 63%. Moreover, student attendance is up, teacher attendance is up, year-to-date suspensions are down, and the school’s accountability designation is poised to improve to the highest level. McKinley has also expanded its CTE programs, partnerships, and student participation rates. The district embraces the philosophy and training for restorative practices, culturally and linguistically responsive teaching, and trauma-informed care. Mr. Abraham has been examining and tracking data regarding student tardiness to school throughout the current year. In order to address an important disproportionality concern, he and his team realized that a more restorative approach needed to be taken. Mr. Abraham’s leadership style is open, collaborative, results-oriented, data-driven, and focused on solving rather than producing problems. High expectations for student achievement is at the center of his vision for the school. Regents exam performance is improving and the number and percentage of students scoring at advanced levels have increased. Stretch goals have been established for this year for Regents exams, AP exams, and day-to-day coursework. Principal Abraham communicates frequently with staff. In multiple and regular building committee meetings, no issues have come up that haven’t been resolved. The overall tenor of his communication is positive, motivating, respectful, honest, forthright, and reflective. He is a strong, calm presence in the school everyday and is hardworking and ethical; he is respectful and is respected. He is a continuous learner, self-evaluative, a change agent, driven above all by the desire to develop young people to their highest potential. Recent school climate surveys indicate that teachers and students overwhelmingly feel safe in school. In addition to feeling safe, school climate surveys indicate that high percentages of staff and students feel that there are supports in place for students that struggle, that there is good home-school communication, and that there are clear structures in place for any type of emergency. The surveys further indicate that in the main, discipline is fair, teachers feel supported, and that there is fair treatment for all students when it comes to discipline. As a result of these observable characteristics and confirmed data points, my executive cabinet and I, as Superintendent of Schools, are united in our expressed statement that we have “100% confidence in the current principal, and we commend the progress being made in all areas under his leadership.”
Buffalo School District Representative