Entries in Principal (8)


WATCH: Massachusetts Principal Under Fire for "Terminator" Video

ABC News(EVERETT, Mass.) -- The new principal at a high school in Everett, Mass., has come under fire for showing a video in which he stalks the school dressed as Arnold Schwarzenegger's character in Terminator 2, which some parents and faculty say belittles school violence.

"It's definitely inappropriate, especially with the question of security in schools around the country," Everett superintendent Frederick Foresteire said.

Erik Naumann, who has been an educator for more than 10 years, recently became the principal at Everett High School.  In a video he produced himself, Naumann imagined himself as the futuristic killing machine from the sci-fi blockbuster, stalking the hallways of the school.

In the video, which includes footage from the 1991 movie, he calls himself "The Naumannator."

The clip, which also shows images of burning playgrounds and empty classrooms, was perceived as funny by many when it was played for his new students during morning announcements on Jan. 7.

But critics don't see the humor, particularly in the wake of the Dec. 14 attack at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Connecticut, which left 26 dead.

A student soon posted the video to YouTube, and when parents saw it, some were shocked to see such ominous images.  In the clip, when asked where the students are, Naumann says, "they've been Naumannated."

"If this was a child, they would be suspended or reprimanded," one parent told ABC News.

Despite the frightening images, opinions among students are still mixed, with some saying that it was just a joke, and others saying it "wasn't the right thing to show."

Attempts to reach Naumann by ABC News were unsuccessful.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio


Newtown Students Heard Principal's Murder Over Intercom

ABC News(NEWTOWN, Conn.) -- An open school intercom broadcast to students at Sandy Hook Elementary School the murder of their principal and the terrified cries of other children.

It's not clear whether the intercom was turned on purposefully to alert the school's staff to the menace or whether the intercom was on for morning announcements.

Either way, it caught the initial moments of Adam Lanza's lethal fury and gave teachers and others life saving moments to lock their doors and try to hide their children.

Among Lanza's first victims was school principal Dawn Hochsprung, 47. Third grader Tori Chop tells ABC News that she could hear her principal's final moments as Lanza barged in with his weapons.

"We kept hearing gun noises and 'put your hands up'…we kept hearing that," said Chop.

Chop's teacher Teri Alves, like other staff in the school, sprang into action.

"She went out to the door, she locked the door and taped a piece of white tape over the window of the door," Chop said of her teacher. "And then she told us to go in the corner."

As the students listened to the rampage unfold, Alves tried to sooth them.

"She's just saying it's going to be okay," Chop said. "Just be quiet."

"We were in the corner all scrouched in, and all the girls were crying, and a couple of boys. The boys had their eyes wide open, watching everything," she said.

Lanza killed 20 children and six adults, including Hochsprung, before shooting himself. Lanza's mother was also found murdered in their home.

Chop believes it was her teachers' swift reaction to the broadcast that kept her and her classmates alive and wants to tell Alves she is grateful.

"I want to say, you saved my life. There's 19 people in our class," Chop said. "And she saved all of us."

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


NY Principal Nixes Performance of "God Bless the USA" at Graduation

Comstock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- A principal in New York City has caused a stir after canceling a performance of Lee Greenwood's patriotic song "God Bless the U.S.A." at a kindergarten graduation.

According to the New York Post, the PS 90 principal, Greta Hawkins, thought the opening lines "If tomorrow all the things were gone/I’d worked for all my life/And I had to start again/with just my children and my wife" were a little too dark for 5-year-olds to sing.

She also reportedly said they didn't want to offend people of other cultures at the ceremony.  New York City Schools Chancellor Dennis Walcott is standing by the principal's decision, and now Lee Greenwood himself is stepping in.

He released a statement Monday saying he wrote "God Bless the U.S.A." about the love he has for America and struggle to remain free.

Greenwood continues, "Our country was founded on the principle that it welcomes people of all cultures and gives them the same rights we have as citizens.  However, I feel compelled to echo the faith or our forefathers who all believed in God and a respect of a higher authority."

He goes on to say that denying the children at PS 90 the right to sing "God Bless the U.S.A." offends him as a Christian.

"My song is about hope, faith, spirit and pride," Greenwood explains.  "How could that be wrong on any level?"

Reportedly, the principal was going to let the kids sing the Justin Bieber hit "Baby" instead, but the New York Post says that plan has been dropped after it was criticized.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Florida Hypnotist Principal Faces One Year in Jail, If Guilty, Fla.) -- A Florida high school principal faces two misdemeanor charges for practicing therapeutic hypnosis without a license on students, three of whom have since died.

George Kenney, 51, was known to hypnotize students to help them achieve better test scores and peak athletic performance, despite being warned by his superiors to discontinue the practice.  The principal allegedly defied those orders.

Kenney, who was reassigned to an administrative job with the Sarasota County School District, will resign from his job, effective June 30, when his contract expires, Scott Ferguson, a spokesperson for the district, told ABC News.

"He was well regarded by many and I'm sure will be missed by many," Ferguson said, adding that the district plans to take no further action.

Kenney's use of the practice came under scrutiny after Kenney acknowledged he had hypnotized Wesley McKinley, 16, the day before the teenager killed himself in April.  Brittany Palumbo, 17, killed herself in May of last year, five months after her session.  Marcus Freeman, 16, the school's star quarterback who was treated by Kenney, died in a car crash.

Mark Zimmerman, who is Kenney's lawyer, told ABC News last year that no one has alleged that there is a link between the hypnosis of the three students and their deaths.

"Dr. Kenney had no indications that these were students who would take their own lives," he said in reference to Wesley McKinley and Brittany Palumbo.  "It is a coincidence that of the many students he was working with, two had other things going on in their lives."

An internal investigation found the principal, who is not licensed but has taken some hypnosis courses, had hypnotized as many as 75 people -- students, parents and staff -- on school grounds.

Kenney initially denied using the technique on Palumbo and Freeman, two of the teens who died, when interviewed by a private investigator hired by the district.  He later admitted he had treated both students..

If convicted, the two misdemeanor charges could put the former principal behind bars for up to one year.

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Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Principal Sorry for Student-Parent Kissing Prank, Minn.) -- A Minnesota high school principal is apologizing for a pep rally prank in which the captains of the school’s sports teams were tricked into locking lips with their own parents.

The athletes were blindfolded at the winter pep fest and told they would be kissed by a special someone, presumably a fellow student. Instead, they were kissed by their own parents, who were not blindfolded.

The prank was filmed and uploaded to YouTube, where various versions of the video had over 33,000 hits as of Friday morning.

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Some of the kisses in the video lasted for several seconds; the footage shows one pair kissing and rolling around on the ground.

One student, still blindfolded, was asked if he knew who had kissed him, and responded that his “special someone” had “luscious lips.”

After receiving about a dozen complaints from people inside and outside the district, John Wollersheim, the high school’s principal, apologized for the prank.

“This activity was intended to be fun, but some found it offensive,” he wrote in a statement released Tuesday. “We apologize to anyone who was offended by this activity.”

Wollersheim received both positive and negative feedback in emails from those who had viewed the video, some feeling the school's critics should have a better sense of humor.

For others, the video was an example of the school teaching students poor values.

“What can possibly be the justification for ridiculing students and their parents in pseudo sexual manner!” one person wrote in an email. “What are we telling students if this sort of thing is not only condoned by the administration but blatantly encouraged?”

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Police Say Memphis Teen Plotted for Months to Kill School Principal

Comstock/Thinkstock(MEMPHIS, Tenn.) -- A Memphis teenager who police say told investigators he had been planning the murder of his school principal for months was held without bond Thursday and ordered to undergo a mental evaluation.

Eduardo Marmolejo, 17, was arrested Wednesday after a teacher discovered Principal Suzette York's bloody body about 11:20 a.m. at Memphis Junior Academy. He was charged with first-degree murder.

Marmolejo told police that he had been planning for months to kill the 49-year-old York, Memphis police said.

"He advised investigators that he did not like her and that she had made him angry. Marmolejo further advised that he knew that he was going to be alone with York which would give him the opportunity to kill her," Memphis police said in a statement.

York is a native of Canada and had taught at the school before becoming principal. The school is affiliated with the Seventh Day Adventist Church.

She had recently expanded the school to include 11th grade. Marmolejo was the school's sole 11th grader, the Memphis Commercial Appeal reported. The teen told authorities that he'd begun plotting the murder of York when he found out in May that he'd be returning to the school for the 11th grade, according to ABC affiliate WPTY.

In a press release, the spokesman for the Kentucky-Tennessee Seventh-Day Adventist Conference said that classes at the school are cancelled until further notice.

A memorial for the teacher was held Wednesday afternoon at a nearby Methodist Church that shares a parking lot and some facilities with the school.

"She was a delightful, absolutely delightful person...very dedicated to the school and to the students. Everyone is absolutely shocked. We're stunned," said Brad Gabriel of Mullins United Methodist Church.

York is survived by her husband, Leslie. Attempts to reach him were not successful.

Marmolejo's next court appearance will be Aug. 24.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Principal Turns Failing High School Around, One Student at a Time 

Creatas Images/Thinkstock(CINCINNATI) -- For years, Cincinnati's Taft Information Technology High School was notorious for being a dilapidated, crime-ridden school filled with failing and forgotten students. Teachers didn't want to teach there and it was often considered to be the worst slum school in the city. It was so dysfunctional that each clock told a different time -- all of which were wrong.

"There was no way I was going to let my son go to Taft," said Shonda Fowler, whose son is now a high school student.

Things began to change nine years ago. Taft got a new principal, his name is Anthony Smith and the motto he brought to Taft: "Failure is not an option." The phrase was not just directed at the students, but the teachers as well. Although Taft was designated a failing school, Smith decided to keep all of the teachers.

"I was ready to get rid of all the teachers because I had a premise that they didn't know what they were doing. I was wrong, 100 percent wrong," said Smith. "They knew what they were doing, they were working hard, just working hard in the wrong direction."

Smith teamed up with his teachers to closely monitor the progress or struggles of every student. Daily meetings helped identify those falling behind and plans were devised to help them catch up. Teaching reading and writing became an obsession, even in math and science classes.

"It's not good enough now to give an answer in math," said Rozell. "You have to be able to explain and articulate that answer."

But Smith's most unconventional partnership happened outside the classroom. The principal teamed up with Jack Cassidy, the hard-charging CEO of Cincinnati Bell, the city's local phone company. Cassidy was so inspired by Smith's determination that he put his company's name on the line. He promised free phones and laptops for every student who maintained a 3.3 grade point average. If they fell behind, the students would have to give the electronics back.

As a result, Taft has been transformed. Ten years ago the graduation rate was 18 percent. Now, 95 percent of the students graduate. The school, with an almost all-black student body closed the so-called racial achievement test gap. Taft students outscored white students in Ohio on the state's graduation tests in math, reading and science.

Now the place that students were once afraid to visit is attracting them. Kenny Fowler, whose mother once said she wouldn't allow her son to go to Taft, transferred there from one of the city's top schools. Kenny is now a straight-A student and his mother is now a believer.

This spring, the "old" Taft changes too. It will be replaced with a gleaming, new $18.8 million high school. The school will feature new desks, new lockers, a new gym, and even a clock -- that works. The school will still have the same commitment.

"You have to look at these children like they're the most important part of your life," said Smith. "I can teach you how to be a good teacher, I can't teach you how to care."

A lesson in saving troubled schools.. one student at a time.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio´╗┐


Custodian Allegedly Murders Prinicipal in California

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(PLACERVILLE, Calif.) -- The northern California town of Placerville was stunned Wednesday after the principal of an elementary school was shot to death in his office.

Local law enforcement authorities identified the alleged gunman as John Leubbers, the janitor at Louisiana Schell Elementary School.

The school went into immediate lockdown following the shooting.  No children or school employees were hurt, and police took Leubbers into custody at his home about an hour after the incident.

Principal Sam LaCara was pronounced dead at Marshall Hospital from a bullet wound to the upper torso.

Police said Wednesday night they had no motive for the shooting although some witnesses said that the principal and janitor had an argument shortly before they heard a gunshot.  Some described Leubbers as usually “grumpy” and “rude” to students.

LaCara was the married father of three daughters.´╗┐

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

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