NYC School Faculty Accuse Principal of Conspiring to Fire White Teachers

Paula Lev
High School for Law and Public Service

Faculty at a Washington Heights high school in New York City issued a no-confidence vote against Principal Paula Lev claiming she “flagrantly but unsuccessfully attempted to divide our school by race,” and made efforts to fire white teachers.

This led to the state’s Department of Education launching an investigation into the principal’s actions, which reportedly included Lev telling one faculty member that she “was going to get rid of all these white teachers that aren’t doing anything for the kids of our community.”

Lev, who is Dominican, also asked the same faculty member to “conspire with her” to oust white teachers, according to a complaint filed with the DOE’s Office of Equal Opportunity.

The New York Post reported on the complaint: 

The complaint came amid simmering unrest at the school, which staffers blamed on what they said was Lev twisting the current concepts of equity and anti-racism, which the DOE promotes and teachers overwhelmingly support.

Dissatisfaction with Lev, 39, boiled up in February, when teacher Nick Bacon, the union chapter leader, filed a routine grievance about a scheduling issue that could have affected most of the faculty, staffers said. In front of a half-dozen other staffers, Lev questioned Bacon’s motives.

“I wasn’t sure what your problem with me was, maybe it’s because I am a woman of color and you’re a white man?’ Lev asked Bacon, according to a March 2 letter to District 6 Superintendent Manny Ramirez.

Most of the school’s tenured staff signed the letter, the Post reported.

Lev later apologized for making the remarks about Bacon publicly but did not say she was sorry for what she said and allegedly said it reflected her “true feelings.” 

Lev also recommended Bacon read the 2018 book by Robin DiAngelo “White Fragility: Why It’s So Hard for White People to Talk About Racism.”

“She said Bacon could join her and other staffers in studying the book and have ‘courageous conversations,’ using a term coined by a consultant hired by the DOE to give implicit-bias workshops for employees,” the Post added.

The complaint asserted Lev should step down.

“I believe Ms. Lev is not suited for the position of principal because of the comments she has made to me about white people and the malicious ways in which she thinks and speaks,” the complaint read. “She is not fit to be a leader of a school.”

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