The New York City Department of Education has decided the time has come to fire Andrew Buck, the ‘non-conformist’ principal of the Middle School for Art and Philosophy in Brooklyn.
Principal for Three Years
Buck has held the position of principal at the school, which serves 6th to 8th graders near Crown Heights, for the past three years, topping off a 14-year career in the school system, mostly in administration.
Back in October of this year Principal Buck and the school made headlines after he sent out barely comprehensible letters to his teaching staff, filled with spelling and grammatical gaffes and illogical explanations of, among other things, why textbooks would no longer be needed in the school, since Wikipedia was so much more useful.
After the authorities were alerted to the bizarre leadership style of Buck, further investigation revealed that the C-rated school was a scary and wild place for the teachers and children as well.
Debra McLain, an eighth-grade teacher there said,
“Teachers were getting hurt, and the kids were running amok – he ran the school into the ground.”
There are reports not only of violence against both teachers and students, but of sexual activity in the stairwells. A 2010 survey conducted by the Department of Education showed that only 61% of the 232 students at the school feel safe in the hallways.
“It wasn’t a secure environment for the students,” said former PTA President Paulette Brown, whose daughter, Samantha, just graduated from the eighth grade at the school.
Asked for Recommendations from Parents and Teachers
To the teacher’s and parent’s amazement, Buck sent letters to parents and teachers this past May, written on department stationary, requesting that they recommend Buck for tenure. The teachers admitted feeling intimidated by the official-looking letters requesting words of support for Buck.
In 2008 the teacher’s union voted Buck the least trustworthy of all the city’s principals.
Marge Feinberg, spokeswoman for the Education Department said that, “(Buck) has been denied tenure and assigned to administrative duties, pending his discontinuance.”
When Debra McLain heard the news of Buck’s dismissal, she cried “tears of joy.”