Students at a high school in New York City have created a petition to target the principal, who has been accused in the past of targeting white staffers for firing.
The students at the High School for Law and Public Service claim their principal Paula Lev, who hails from the Dominican Republic, has focused on “new furniture, plants and TV screens for the hallways” instead of more vital issues, and charge the school has disintegrated into “utter disorganization and insanity.”
“Sadly, improving the appearance of our school and making it the most visually appealing school has become more of a priority to the principal than focusing on providing quality education to our students,” they write.
Paula Lev came under investigation by the city Department of Education (DOE) in 2021 for allegedly telling a faculty member she “was going to get rid of all these white teachers that aren’t doing anything for the kids of our community,” a complaint filed with the DOE’s Office of Equal Opportunity stated. The complaint also asserted Lev asked the faculty member to “conspire with her” in firing a white colleague,” The New York Post reported.
In February 2021, Lev disparaged the motives of teacher Nick Bacon, the union chapter leader, who had filed a routine grievance about scheduling that affected teachers. Lev confronted Bacon in front of other teachers, snapping, “I wasn’t sure what your problem with me was, maybe it’s because I am a woman of color and you’re a white man?” The statement was confirmed by most of the school’s tenured members.
Lev later apologized but suggested Bacon read Robin DiAngelo “White Fragility: Why It’s So Hard for White People to Talk About Racism.”
“We have had enough and cannot bear to witness the utter disorganization and insanity at our school, especially that we once proudly called home,” the students lament in their petition..
“Students and teachers are all facing the same problem: no one communicates and there is no transparency,” they charge. “Certain teachers are completely clueless and students can provide many examples that demonstrate there is no communication at all. … As students from the High School for Law & Public, we are discouraged and prohibited from standing up to faculty and expressing our opinions.
“We are deeply dismayed to see this unfold at a school that had been blossoming before this principal took over,” they continue. “Happiness, pleasure, and contentment have now become filled with tears of agony and sorrow. Many of ‘our teachers and administrators’ whom we truly valued, are now gone.”
Referring to their former principal and other former staffers, they conclude, “In our petition, we call for HSLPS to be brought back to the state it was under Mr. Politis’ tenure, as well as to bring back Mr. Almonte, Ms. Carey, Ms. Emilio, and our former assistant principals under a different administration.”