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Niagara Wheatfield High School principal resigns amid student rape investigation controversy

Posted at 8:13 PM, Oct 02, 2019
and last updated 2019-10-02 23:16:16-04

SANBORN, N.Y. (WKBW) — The principal at Niagara Wheatfield High School resigned Wednesday evening. This comes after parents and students called for his resignation over the handling of a rape investigation that occurred off of school grounds last year.

Michael Mann submitted his resignation to the Niagara Wheatfield Board of Education and it was accepted during the board's meeting on Wednesday.

Mann was placed on administrative leave back in June.

In attendance at Wednesday's meeting was the victim's mother, Leslie, who says Mann's resignation is a "step in the right direction."

"Just hearing that it is official now, I was very emotional," said Leslie.

Mann's resignation is the culmination of months of unrelenting pressure on the principal, superintendent, and Board of Education to ensure a timely and effective investigation process into why the perpetrator in Leslie's daughter's rape was allowed back on school property.

"You always hate to see people have to resign, but on the other hand, you know, sometimes separation is the best for not just the individual but also for the district," said Steven Sabo, Board of Education President.

Among the changes being made at the district level, the Board of Education has asked to be made aware of any student who is accused of a crime. The BoE has also invited Leslie to sit on its policy committee.

Superintendent Daniel Ljiljanich issued this statement on the district's website:

Niagara Wheatfield School Community,
I want to provide our school community with an update on our high school principal position. Mr. Mann has submitted his resignation, so we will be commencing a search for a new high school principal. Mr. White, who has served as acting principal this school year, will continue in his leadership role as interim principal until our search for a new principal is complete. Mr. White has done an outstanding job working with the high school team to create a smooth start to the school year, and is enthusiastic about continuing his work with our students and staff to foster a positive learning environment. We look forward to finding a strong and experienced candidate who will be an excellent fit for Niagara Wheatfield High School and the District.