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Violence remains a top concern in Buffalo Public Schools

“It’s everywhere"
outside mckinley .jpg
Posted at 6:46 PM, Mar 11, 2022
and last updated 2022-03-11 18:48:07-05

BUFFALO, NY (WKBW) — Safety concerns are mounting within the Buffalo Public School District.

Several teachers brought forward stories of violence in their classrooms as the district reopened McKinley High School fully to all students after last month's attack.

The district received poor reviews from school staff.


The Buffalo Teachers Federation completed a survey finding nearly 90-percent of McKinley teachers say they were not "meaningfully involved" in the reopening process.

Violence in the city schools continues to be a major topic, with two more incidents reported just this week.

Earlier in the week, one involved a Herman Badillo school student attacking another young student on a school bus.

Another involved a high school student going after a teacher at Emerson School of Hospitality.

In the wake of all this, Riverside High School Teacher Mark Bruno, who also serves as a union delegate chair for the Buffalo Teachers Federation, is speaking out.

Riverside High School Teacher Mark Bruno.

“It’s everywhere. I’m mean there is violence on school buses, middle schools, elementary schools,” stated Bruno.

Bruno tells me a student threatened to throw a desk at him.

“A student threatened to throw a desk at my expletive face and this student had just come back from suspension,” explained Bruno.

Bruno is now begging the district to send students with a pattern of bad behavior to the alternative school and to provide anger management and trauma-informed care classes.

Riverside High School Teacher Mark Bruno.

“What's more important right now? Algebra or chemistry or our students' mental health and well-being, which were really not addressing at all whatsoever,” remarked Bruno. “It’s unacceptable that we're letting the small minority of students commit these violent acts. Some students are trying to get out of homes, that they are seeing that in — they're coming to school. And then they are being traumatized by students throwing desks around and getting into fights.”

Bruno says he's not going to stay silent on the issue.

I asked interim Buffalo Schools Superintendent Dr. Tonja Williams about these latest school incidents.

Dr. Williams says she believes many children were traumatized during the pandemic and it is fueling a spike in violent behavior nationwide.

Buffalo Schools Superintendent Dr. Tonja Williams.

“We don't want to see any violent occurrences — school safety is a priority for me,” replied Dr. Williams. “We know it is less than two percent of our children that are engaging in these kinds of your know occurrences, so when you have 31,000 students at 60 schools and we hear about two or three — two or three are too many certainly, but I would not say we're in a state where things are not control proof."

7 News learned the female teacher at Emerson was treated for a broken nose and we confirmed from Buffalo Police that a 14-year-old female student was arrested and charged with assaulting the teacher.

The student who attacked another on the school bus is now under investigation by First Student and the driver was removed immediately.

This is the full statement we received from First Student:

“First Student launched an investigation regarding the situation. Per our standard procedure, the driver was immediately removed from service pending the outcome of the investigation. As this is an active investigation, we are not able to comment further.”

Jay Brock
First Student spokesperson