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January 26, 2023
The principal at a Washington Heights high school in New York City, who was previously accused of trying to “get rid of” white teachers, is now facing backlash from students who say she has created an environment of “utter disorganization and insanity” at the school.
Paula Lev was accused of discriminating against white teachers last year after she allegedly told a faculty member that she “was going to get rid of all these white teachers that aren’t doing anything for the kids of our community.” The complaint against her led to a probe by the NYC Department of Education (DOE) and is now before the state Division of Human Rights.
Insiders told The New York Post that Lev gave excess notices to four white staffers at the school last year and made other “unpopular” changes.
While the DOE found that only two staffers had been excessed, the Post reported that “some of the excessed teachers found new jobs, so they weren’t officially considered cut; others left on their own; and at least three more teachers decided to call it quits this month,” citing one of the sources.
Lev is now facing a petition from students who are displeased with her leadership. Originally posted to the website Change.org by student Angel Dilawar, the petition states: “Many students at the High School for Law & Public Service would like to bring to your attention that 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 school community of High School for Law & Public Service has been experiencing challenges, and the lives of our students and teachers have become miserable. It is unfortunate that we have some new teachers that are super underqualified, and staff members that were fully experienced and qualified were excessed. It has been our experience that the lack of knowledge of a few new staff members has affected our learning,” the petition reads.
The petition goes on to criticize the Lev for focusing on the appearance of the school and “making it the most visually appealing school,” instead of “providing quality education.”
“Students would much rather prefer to receive new laptops and textbooks instead of new furniture, plants, and TV screens in the hallways. The same money could be invested in hiring more teachers to teach AP classes, core subjects, and electives,” the petition explains.
The petition goes on to criticize the school for the lack of communication and transparency between student and teacher, stating: “Certain teachers are completely clueless and students can provide many examples that demonstrate there is no communication at all. There is always last-minute notice for students and they feel that they don’t matter and are always silenced. As students from the High School for Law & Public, we are discouraged and prohibited from standing up to faculty and expressing our opinions.”
Focusing more specifically on Lev’s failure as principal, the petition reads: “We are deeply dismayed to see this unfold at a school that had been blossoming before this principal took over. 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.”
As of writing, the petition has garnered 745 signatures with the goal of reaching 1,000.
MANAGING EDITOR: CARSON CHOATE
PHOTO CREDITS: NEW YORK POST