McKinley Principal Placed on Leave

McKinley Student Filed Lawsuit over Claims of Discrimination Against LGBT Students

Tom Puckett
May 12, 2017 - 1:56 pm

Buffalo, NY (WBEN) After a McKinley High School student filed a lawsuit against Buffalo Public Schools over claims of discrimination, the school's principal has been placed on leave. 

Sources tell WBEN Crystal Barton was placed on leave as a result of the suit filed by student Byshop Elliott.

The Buffalo Public Schools issued this statement Friday:

The District has taken active measures to address the grievances contained in the NYCLU complaint regarding McKinley High School. The District always has and will continue to uphold the democratic principles of active citizenship, personal integrity, civility, and respect for others.  Within that greater framework, the District has policy in place to ensure that students of the LGBTQ community are included and accepted in school activities throughout the District.

McKinley High School senior students were informed today, through acting school administrators and the superintendent’s student support staff, that they may attend next week’s prom with their guest of choice, under the age of 21, with NYS identification.

In addition, the superintendent has directed staff to assist students in the formation of a Gay Straight Alliance within the school as soon as possible.

Elliott claimed in his suit earlier this week announcements over the loudspeaker warned students that they are not allowed to bring a same-sex date to prom and that “couples” tickets are only for opposite-sex couples. At school dances, he says if a girl dares to dance with her girlfriend, the principal has separated them and warned them to stay apart or face punishment. The lawsuit claims Barton’s repeated, years-long denial of attempts to form a Gay-Straight-Alliance at McKinley and the school district’s ongoing refusal to intercede.

The NYCLU issued this statement Friday afternoon: "This is a welcome first step. We are pleased that the district has begun the process of protecting the rights of LGBTQ students at McKinley High School, and we are thrilled all McKinley students will be welcome at prom. Although the GSA has not yet begun meeting, and our case remains active, we are optimistic that the district will work with us to address the issues raised in the case. The discouragement, inaction and homophobia that McKinley students have endured must end. All schools and districts around New York must recognize that protecting LGBTQ students is not optional."

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