BUFFALO, NY (WKBW) — “That was a traumatic event that occurred on Wednesday,” remarked Dr. Kriner Cash, superintendent, Buffalo Public Schools.
Dr. Cash held a late afternoon news conference Friday inside McKinley High School. The first time we've heard from him since Wednesday night after an attack on property.
Cash told reporters its not about a high school of the school district, but is how to support families children in crisis.
The superintendent addressed the security issue. He says McKinley has five security officers, but when the attack occurred late Wednesday afternoon there were only two left at the school.
The district does not have school resource officers, but Cash says he has reached out to the mayor to add more Buffalo Police to help out around McKinley for the interim.
Mayor Brown said if the district asks for support he would grant it.
“I said Mayor Brown could you for a few weeks, let say until the end of March could you provide several officers to drive by, stop out front, come in — check around the school, talk with the admin team and say is there anything you need help with, any assistance I can provide for the next several weeks through March, and he said, yes doc, absolutely," said Cash.
The district will also add behavior specialists and will be getting help from community groups such as the Buffalo Peacemakers, MVP and religious community. The district will also add more teacher aides.
As for the return of McKinley students, it will be conducted in phases.
Each grade level returns on a different day with the first round of students returning Tuesday.
The plan will be issued to school families by late Friday. Saturday and Monday school will be open for teachers.
“This reopening plan is extraordinary,” remarked Dr. Cash.
One teacher at McKinley High School was paying close attention to the Cash's speech.
"It all sounded great, but I didn't hear a lot of true change," said Eric Guy. He has taught at McKinley High school for 6 years.
He was just driving home during Wednesday's attack.
Guy says he and the staff at McKinley are doing the best they can, day to day, but they need more help for students who are verbally and sometimes physically abusive.
"We feel, very much, that we are not supported by the district," added Guy.
The superintendent also announced that he named a new principal at McKinley High. Moustafa Khalil, had served as an assistant principal at East High School, started on the job Thursday.
To McKinley parents who felt they were left out of communication from the district about the incident while their child had to stay at the school, he apologized.
"On the communication piece on that day, I certainly apologize if folks felt like they didn't get timely communication from the district. That is always our primary skill that you have to have. Communication, communication, communication, and certainly we will continue to do better. I will say it was just a tough time of day, and any time you have dismissal, and we weren't really sure who was on site because it was, it became a crime scene pretty quickly," Cash said.
Dr. Cash says he did call the wounded security guard, Bradley Walker, who was recovering from a gunshot wound to his leg. The superintendent said Walker cried when he called him, telling case he “loves” the students and can’t wait to get back to work.
The superintendent called Bradley and Jennifer little, who made a tourniquet for Walker, "heroes".