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Press Release
For Immediate Release
January 14, 2019
 

CONTINUED UNACCEPTABLE SAFETY AND LEARNING CONDITIONS AT MCKINLEY HIGH SCHOOL


January 2018 – the first ever vote of No Confidence for a principal, Marck Abraham, McKinley High School, signed by over 60% of the faculty. Note: Many were afraid to sign because of the fear of reprisals, attached here.

Issues raised – January 2018 – One Year Ago

“Many of our teachers feel that McKinley has become an unsafe environment for teaching and learning as a result of the Acting Principal’s leadership.”

  • “Unacceptable student behavior, unsatisfactory or no resolution to student discipline referrals.”
  • “Lack of student supervision in hallways and staircases.”
  •  “Students are not held accountable for their whereabouts during the school day.”
  •  “Students not in compliance with district code of conduct (i.e. dress code, electronics policy, food/drink) are not held accountable, which has resulted in student defiance and belief that they are exempt from school rules.”
  •  “Bullying and intimidation of teachers by Acting Principal Abraham.”
  •  “Security presence and response inadequate to provide support to teachers.”
  •  “Student arrival times are currently recorded on the attendance record for homeroom/1st period only, to artificially inflate attendance data.”

This document was sent to the Superintendent and members of the Board of Education.

Since the January 2018 vote of no confidence for Acting Principal Marck Abraham, nothing has been done, so teaching and learning conditions get worse.

Since then, the BTF has received constant concerns relating to Principal Abraham’s refusal to address the urgent, unsafe teaching and learning conditions.

Since then, 12 grievances have been filed.

The conditions, since the loss of Principal Crystal Barton, have now resulted in a student, who was previously involved in extremely disruptive acts and threats of violence, body-slamming a teacher causing serious injury.

Much to teachers’ dismay, students continue (see January Vote of No Confidence) to arrive very late at McKinley High School with no consequences as the detention room was disbanded by Principal Abraham.

Based upon information available, one of the District’s portals at McKinley High School:

  • on January 7, 2019, 170 students were late.
  • on January 8, 2019, 151 students were late.
  •  22 students were late 40-64 days since September 6, 2018.
  •  over 130 students were late 20-40 times this year. 

A teacher at McKinley High School reported that three students barged into her room while she was working with other students. After she advised the students to leave:

  • “They would not leave and instead said inappropriate things to me: ‘F** this, we don’t have to do any f**king thing.’”
  • “One of the boys mimicked kissing with his lips towards me while another moved towards me and asked if I wanted a hug and more from him, I backed away and told them I would be calling security. They said, ‘f*** security! We’re not afraid of them. They can’t do anything to us!!’ I was able to shut the door on them and called security. A guard came and said he would review the camera and to write this incident up.” 

The students did not receive a formal suspension – only a three-day suspension.

This, what is considered Inappropriate/Inadequate Discipline, was reported to Superintendent Cash by BTF President, Philip Rumore (attached here).

As a result, the teacher was demeaned, insulted and humiliated by Principal Abraham who at a meeting also had his secretary/clerk present.

During the meeting, the teacher states:

  • Mr. Abraham does not feel the action of the three students rises to a Formal Suspension since I was not physically attacked.
  • He continually asked me why I ‘feared’ for my life. I corrected him saying I said ‘I feared for my safety’. He asked me what I was afraid of: being raped, groped, touched, thrown to the ground, or being beaten up by these three boys? I explained that I did not know these students, their grade level, or what they were capable of. They were very aggressive, both physically and verbally, coupled with sexual harassment caused me to ‘fear for my safety’.
  • Mr. Abraham said the wording in my referral was sensationalized because ‘I feared for my safety.’ He questioned that fear as unfounded. After all, ‘there were a dozen students in my classroom and surely they would not stand by and let me be raped.’ He repeated that my wording was sensational numerous times throughout the meeting.
  • He referred, five to six times, to the fact that the three students were African American teenage boys and that they are disproportionately formally suspended in city schools throughout the U.S. He asked me if I was aware of recent research which states that suspension for teenage African American boys does not change the behavior and instead disenfranchises them from the school community. I said that ‘actions have consequences’ and ‘students that commit sexual harassment toward a teacher need to be dealt with accordingly”. He wanted me to cite reports that support his opinion.
  • Mr. Abraham asked me if I knew what ‘implicit bias’ was and I said ‘yes’. He stated that we all have it and inferred that I am guilty of it like everyone else. I refuted that claim completely. I said, ‘that if the three students were white, had acted in the same manner as the three students I wrote the referral for, I would not have changed my report.’ I do not see my students as black, white, Asian, African, or Hispanic. My love is dedicated to all my students and my passion is teaching. He did not believe me. Instead he pointed out that he is black and so is Ms. Cottam the school secretary who was told by the principal to be present. I said ‘yes and I’m white… are you treating me differently because I’m white?’ No answer.

 

PR:su

Important Information

  • The Annual Professional Performance Review (APPR) Information 

    The APPR is a process by which teachers are evaluated in NYS. The intent of APPR is to assist educators to improve the quality of instruction in schools and to improve students' performance for colleges and careers. District APPR plans must meet strict state guidelines and be negotiated with local unions. Under state guidelines, APPR takes into account classroom observations and student performance. Teachers across NYS receive an overall effectiveness rating every year.

     

    APPR is complex and can often be overwhelming.  Click here to keep up to date on all the current APPR information.

  • Opt-Out Information 

    Teachers and parents share deep concerns about the standardized tests used by NYS for accountability purposes that include; stress on students, in-appropriateness and lack of validity of the Common Core-aligned tests, loss of learning time, and lack of transparency on state test content. Parents who decide it is not in their children’s best interests to take these assessments are part of an “Opt-Out” movement. BTF fully supports parents’ right to choose what is best for their children.

     

    Click here to keep up to date on the "Opt-Out" movement and other information.

  • COVID-19 Information


    For our members, BTF has collected COVID-19 resources from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, World Health Organization, as well as our affiliates, NYSUT, the American Federation of Teachers and the National Education Association. Together we must, and will, be proactive to ensure that Coronavirus does not infect and spread to our students, staff and community.
     
    Click here to view recent information and writen correspondence. The BTF will post more information as it becomes available.

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