No decision on firing of Discovery School 67 principal

Mar 22, 2018

The Buffalo School Board is trying to fire the principal of Discovery School 67, but supporters turned out in large numbers Wednesday night to fight the decision.

David Thomas Jr.'s photo on the Principal's Page of Discovery School 67.
Credit Buffalo Public Schools

The termination for cause was listed as the 13th item in one section of paperwork presented to the board. It came up after six speakers protested the proposed firing and described David Thomas Jr. as a strong principal and good for the Abbott Road magnet school.

"I'm asking you to consider the entirety of the situation before you rip an administrator from our building," said Discovery parent Kevin Lafferty. "I don't know the specifics of the case. I'm working off nothing but rumors and speculation, but I ask that you take into account all the evidence, the entire body of work, before you decide to ruin a career in this building tonight. I plead with you: talk to the community. talk to the parents."

Gym teacher Jenny Hart has three children at Discovery. Hart said Thomas is a strong principal.

"He supports staff and encourages us to be the best for our students," said Hart. "He's a great principal because of his dedication and because he is invested in our culture and spirit at 67. As a parent, that is all you could ever ask for your child, someone who has your best interest at heart. At Discovery, we pride ourselves on being a Character Counts school. We encourage and praise students for being humble and kind."

Supporters of David Thomas Jr. spoke at Wednesday's Buffalo School Board meeting.
Credit Mike Desmond / WBFO News

Firing a principal is not an easy thing to do and is usually discussed in closed board sessions. Only a decision is voted on in public, but often buried in descriptions like "Administrative Personnel Changes." Board Member Patty Pierce blocked an immediate decision and gave a hint of her concern.

"To view the same surveillance video as was viewed by staff," said the Park District representative. "Seeing that we are being called upon to make such a serious decision as the termination of an employee, I would think that the entire board would be given the opportunity to view the exact same evidence that you were able to view so that we can make a decision based on the same facts."

There was no explanation of what was seen by the surveillance camera. The board agreed to hold off on the decision and shortly afterwards went into another of its closed executive sessions.