A Washington Heights school principal accused by staff of trying to divide the school along racial lines has kept a vow to cut white staff and sent the school into “insaneness,” insiders said.
Paula Lev, the principal of the High School for Law and Public Service, faced an Education Department investigation last year after she allegedly told a teacher she was “getting rid of all these white teachers who aren’t doing anything for the kids in our community.” ‘ said one complaint.
The complaint, first filed with the DOE, is now before the state Department of Human Rights.
Lev, who is Dominican, fired four white staffers at the 450-student school too many last year and made other unpopular changes, insiders said.
Some of the surplus teachers found new jobs so they were not officially dismissed; others went on their own; and at least three other teachers decided to quit this month, an insider said.
“There are many more teachers who have expressed plans to leave and they feel demoralized,” the staffer said. The exodus comes after teachers passed an unusual vote of no confidence in Lev a year ago.
Even the weary students demand action.
One student, Angel Dilawar, 17, who will be entering high school in September and is top of his class, started a petition on change.org and said, “We have had enough and cannot bear to witness the utter disorganization and madness at our school will.”
“We have some new teachers who are extremely underqualified, and staff who were fully experienced and qualified were overwhelmed,” reads the petition, which has garnered more than 370 signatures in two months.
Dilawar told the Post that Lev wasted money on knick-knacks like hallway TV monitors and $50,000 hoodies that match school uniforms that nobody wears. The violence has since increased, she said.
“Right now, students can do whatever they want and they won’t get into trouble,” Dilawar said.
Dilawar said while helping out in the school’s college office, she was asked to write letters of recommendation for her fellow students because the assistant who was supposed to do the job had limited English.
“These students would be shocked to learn that their letters of recommendation were written by a student, a junior,” she said.
Dilawar said she emailed School Chancellor David Banks several times and received no response.
Another student, Hannah Maldonado, 16, who will be a senior, said Lev even created disunity during a recent Culture Day celebration to promote diversity. When Maldonado asked for a greater variety of music to be played at the cafeteria event, Lev told the DJ in Spanish to play one more song — and then “go back to Spanish music,” the student recalled.
“I was told that student government curated a playlist that includes all of our cultures,” said Maldonado, who speaks Spanish.
Lev did not respond to a request for comment.
The DOE claimed that only two employees were redundant, a decision it upheld that was governed by contractual seniority rules.
It said a new post had been created to focus on “conflict resolution” and the culture day music choices had been “informed” through a student survey.
“The Department of Education is absolutely committed to creating a strong and supportive environment in all of our schools and for all of our students. We work with our principals every day to ensure students and staff have the support they need,” said spokesperson Jenna Lyle.
https://nypost.com/2022/07/02/principal-accused-of-wanting-to-oust-white-teachers-created-school-of-insanity-petition/ Principal accused of trying to oust white teachers has started school of ‘madness’: Petition