Principal Accused Of Attempting To Fire Teachers For Being White

Students and staff are speaking out against their schools principal, Paula Lev, alleging she is targeting white teachers.

By Jessica Marie Baumgartner | Published

Dept. Of Education Says Disabled Black Students’ Rights Were Systematically Violated

Paula Lev

The New York High School for Law and Public Service is experiencing backlash from students who say the principal, Paula Lev, is creating “disorganization and insanity” at the school. Some teachers have quit and others have expressed plans to leave. This has been brought on by the principal’s alleged attempt to fire white teachers due to the color of their skin. 

Paula Lev is a Dominican-American who gained control of the school last year. Although the student body is small, about 450 students, and the nation has been suffering from a teacher shortage, Lev gave four white staff members excess notices. Much like layoffs, these notices advised the teachers in question that they were no longer needed at the school. 

One faculty member complained to the Department of Education’s Office of Equal Opportunity. They came forward with allegations that Paula Lev admitted she wanted to oust white teachers from the school. After deliberation, the school faculty charged her with, “flagrantly but unsuccessfully attempted to divide our school by race.” 

Now, students have petitioned to have those teachers reinstated. 17-year-old, Angel Dilawar is the class valedictorian and is not afraid to speak out against the new principal. She created a petition to address the frightening issues students now face. She calls the school “dangerous” and notes rising violence rates, a deteriorating campus, and a lack of transparency. 

The petition also mentions the termination of the school’s guidance counselor, Mr. Almonte. Right now, students are facing unprecedented mental health struggles. A national emergency has been declared regarding the state of youth mental issues, and so if Paula Lev delivered a notice of excess to the school’s counselor it is highly suspicious. While most schools are seeking more counselors and student support aids, it seems counterproductive to lay off a teacher who is expressly working to help students through their struggles. 

Whether this was just bad judgment on the part of Paula Lev, or based on racial prejudice is still unproven, but Dilawar told the New York Post that the principal has wasted money on things like hoodies to go with school uniforms. Another student called out the principal for using a Culture Day to create racial division instead of promoting diversity, as it was intended. The student asked for diverse music to be played, but Lev insisted on playing mostly Spanish songs. 

Paula Lev

Paula Lev refused to comment on the situation and remains in control of the High School for Law and Public Service. The DOE revealed that only two of the teachers in question were given excess notices and that the school was within its rights. The other teachers in question resigned, whether pressured to do so or not has been deemed irrelevant because the decision was ultimately voluntary. 

Instead of addressing the petition against Paula Lev, which has over 775 signatures, the school has created a new “conflict resolution position. Despite giving excess warnings, the school apparently has a need for this position. Students and faculty will test out whether or not it is effective this fall.