BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) — McKinley High School students will learn remotely a little longer as Buffalo Public Schools push back their return date again.
The Wednesday evening school board meeting marks the second time BPS pushed back its reopening plan for McKinley High School. Students moved to remote learning when a 14-year-old student was stabbed, and an unarmed security guard was shot in the leg during an attack outside the Elmwood Avenue high school on February 9.
The updated return plan will have seniors return in-person on February 28, juniors come back March 1 and freshman and sophomores return March 2.
A BPS spokesperson said the change comes after parents, faculty and administration provided feedback.
The now null initial plan called for students to begin a phased in-person return starting February 15, Superintendent Dr. Kriner Cash announced in a press conference on February 11. Cash followed up with a February 13 email that students would start returning on February 15.
Buffalo Teachers Federation President Phil Rumore told News 4’s Sarah Minkewicz Monday he’s disappointed the union wasn’t included in reopening talks.
“As far as we’re concerned, any kind of plan should be done with the full cooperation, with all the teachers and staff, and approved by them,” Rumore said. “Who knows more about what they need than the people at that building?”
On Tuesday, McKinley parents brought their concerns to BPS leaders at a meeting held at McKinley High School. News 4 wasn’t allowed in the meeting, but we did speak with parents outside.
“My main concern is the children, some of them are really scared. I know they’re really scared and I don’t think any child should have to fear to come to a place where they’re supposed to find peace,” said parent Bonita Middlebrooks.
Middlebrooks said the district’s priority should be adding more security at McKinley High School. As part of the district’s reopening plan for the school, the district is working with Buffalo Police to hire school resource officers for arrival and dismissal.
“I feel confident with the teachers, I just want the added protection so that my heart can be at rest. That’s my main concern tonight and that’s why I’m here.”
“Me as a parent, I was shook,” said parent Veronica Love. “My son, he’s kind of shook, but he’s making his way back mentally and emotionally, and that’s what counts. I really wanted to make sure he was going to be safe coming back because he’s effectively coming back on Friday, so I really wanted to know what was going on and what protocols they had going forth.”
During Wednesday’s board meeting, the superintendent also gave an update on the two victims from the attack. Cash says Brad Walker, the security guard, is doing well and is eager to return to work.
Cash couldn’t give an update on the condition of the 14-year-old student.