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Tough moments for McKinley High School parents & families

“I never thought this could happen"
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Posted at 5:42 PM, Feb 10, 2022
and last updated 2022-02-10 17:42:33-05

BUFFALO, NY (WKBW) — School violence at McKinley High School terrified parents and school families as they waited for students to be release Wednesday night who were sheltered in place.

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Worried McKinley parents.

A 14-year-old McKinley student was stabbed and a school security officer was shot late Wednesday afternoon outside the school on Elmwood Avenue, on school property.

Those who gathered outside school were begging for information about their children from the Buffalo Public School District.

“Did they say anything about you leaving?”, asked Markiel Hall, parent.“No. Not yet,” replied his son.

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Markiel Hall, parent, on phone while his son was still inside McKinley.

Hall, a McKinley High School father, phoned his son who was among the 100-students still inside the school Wednesday night.

Markiel Hall tells me it was a terrifying experience.

“I spoke to a teacher that was with him. She was terrified, so I know my son was upset because they said they had to be quiet and they had to wait for the swat team to come in there and take care of things. It's nasty,” Hall said.

Hall and other parents say they were extremely upset because the Buffalo School District was not giving them any information.

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Buffalo Schools Superintendent Dr. Kriner Cash outside McKinley High School Wednesday night.

But during this news conference at the scene Wednesday night, district Superintendent Dr. Kriner Cash responded to those concerns.

“We got the message out as soon as we could — as soon as we had cogent details,” remarked Superintendent Dr. Cash.

However, parents say the did not did receive any notifications until an email arrived after 8 Wednesday night, hours after the incident.

“What goes through your mind, as a Buffalo school parent, when you hear something like this and your child now involved, waiting inside to be released?,” asked Buckley.

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Students who were sheltered in place.

“I never thought this could happen,” Hall responded.

“Until they're in your arms, and in your house, it's just — just absolutely gut wrenching,” reflected Wendy Mistretta.

Mistretta is president of Buffalo’s District Parent Coordinating Council, one of six parent groups for city parents.

Mistretta says her organization does not have a parent representative from McKinley, which made it difficult to provide support for those families.

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Wendy Mistretta, president, Buffalo’s District Parent Coordinating Council.

“There should be 60 schools with representatives at our meeting and I think 19 schools handed in their leadership forms and maybe half of those are reps,” commented Mistretta.

Having a school rep is part of a district policy that Mistretta says is not working.

“If we were working according to district policy, which this is a district policy, that every school is supposed to identify their parent leadership, then we would have had parent leadership to reach out and we don't have that right now,” Mistretta explained.

“This is a moment where folks just want to be heard. They want to be listened too. As a parent of two children, I would want to express my frustrations,” remarked Dr. Dia Bryant, executive director, Education Trust NY.

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We the Parent event.

Late Thursday afternoon We the Parents of Western New York hosted a live podcast to discuss the McKinley attack featuring Dr. Bryant.

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Dr. Dia Bryant, executive director, Education Trust NY, in Zoom interview.

“But I think there's something that the board and Dr. Cash can do in this moment and they can reassure the community that they're gong to short of be here that they're are going to listen, that they are going to act on behalf of what families and parents need right now,” stated Dr. Bryant.

This message was issued by the district Thursday:

“As previously stated, our students’ health and well-being are our top priority and plans are being executed across the district to support students, faculty and parents. The Superintendent will likely provide an update tomorrow afternoon regarding the reopen plan for McKinley High School.”

Ka’Ron Barnes
Special Assistant to the Superintendent for Community Relations