BUFFALO, NY (WKBW) – “It was a traumatic event that happened on Wednesday,” remarked Dr. Kriner Cash, superintendent of Buffalo Public Schools.
Dr. Cash held a press conference late Friday afternoon inside McKinley High School. First time we’ve heard from him since Wednesday night after a property attack.
A 14-year-old student was stabbed and a school security guard was shot dead.
Cash told reporters it was not about a school district high school, but about how to support children from families in crisis.
The superintendent addressed the issue of security. He says McKinley has five security guards, but when the attack happened late Wednesday afternoon, there were only two left at the school.
The district doesn’t have school resource officers, but Cash says he’s contacted the mayor to add more Buffalo police to help around McKinley for the interim.
Mayor Brown said if the district asked for support, he would grant it.
“I said Mayor Brown could you for a few weeks, say until the end of March, could you provide several officers to pass, stop in front, come in – check around the school, talk with the admin team and say if there’s anything you need help with, any help I can provide over the next few weeks through March, and he said, yes doc, absolutely,” Cash said.
The district will also add behavioral specialists and enlist the help of community groups such as the Buffalo Peacemakers, MVP and the faith community. The district will also add more teacher assistants.
As for the return of McKinley students, it will be done in phases.
Each grade level returns on a different day with the first round of students returning on Tuesday.
The plan will be given to school families on Friday evening. Saturday and Monday school will be open to teachers.
“This reopening plan is extraordinary,” remarked Dr. Cash.
The superintendent also announced that he had appointed a new principal at McKinley High. Moustafa Khalil, who had been vice-principal at East High School, took office on Thursday.
To McKinley’s parents who felt they were not informed of the incident by the district when their child was to remain in school, he apologized.
“In terms of communication that day, I certainly apologize if people felt like they didn’t receive timely communication from the District. It’s still our main skill that you need to have. Communication, communication, communication, and we will definitely continue I will say it was just a tough time of the day, and every time you have a layoff, and we didn’t really know who was there because it was , it was becoming a crime scene pretty quickly,” Cash said.
Dr Cash says he called injured security guard Bradley Walker, who was recovering from a gunshot wound to his leg. The superintendent said Walker cried when he called him, saying he “loved” the students and was looking forward to getting back to work.
The superintendent called Bradley and Jennifer Little, who made a tourniquet for Walker, “heroes.”