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Clark Fulton

Lincoln West students and staff petition Board of Education to bring back former Principal Edward T. Muffit

(Plain Press, January 2010, Chuck Hoven) Close to a 1,000 students and faculty members of Lincoln West High School signed a petition asking the Cleveland Board of Education to bring back Edward T. Muffit, the principal at the school during the 2008-2009 school year. Muffit was transferred to East Tech High School prior to the beginning of this school year to a position as an assistant principal. Marilyn Cargile started out the school year at Lincoln West as principal, but was replaced at the end of October of 2009 by Assistant Superintendent Valentine Mickey. Mickey is holding the post temporarily until a permanent replacement can be found.

Those submitting the petition to the Board of Education at its December 15th meeting held at Lincoln West High School, 3202 W. 30th, said that in the 2009-2010 “the school has been out of control.”  They called Muffit a “great principal” and asked that he return to the school he helped to shape.

Wesam Iwais, a senior at Lincoln West High School who helped to present the petition to the Board of Education, told the Plain Press that, at the beginning of this school year, fire alarms were being pulled daily, there were riots every week and many students were suspended. He said students became fearful of coming to school.  In comparison, he said, last year under Muffit, while things weren’t perfect, “Students were going to class and participating in school activities and actually liked coming to school.”

Before Muffit’s transfer, Lincoln West High School was getting high praise on websites devoted to reviewing education. In May of 2009 a parent writing to said, “I love this school, the teachers care about the student’s education and the students are not out of control like most public schools.”  In May of 2009, a Lincoln West student wrote to the same site saying, “This is the best school ever. It’s so fun. And the students are not out of control like they used to be.” In August of 2008, a parent writing to said, “A lot of people talk bad about this school, but it has changed and now there is more discipline and the teachers are great.”

In contrast at the beginning of this school year, October 2009, a parent writes to and reports: “In the past month, there has been nothing but fights. No disciple or respect.”

Several people close to the school reported that about 200 students, from East, East Tech and South that created discipline problems at those schools, were transferred to Lincoln West this year. This, along with a change in the principal, created a problem at the school. The Cleveland Municipal School District removed the new principal, and Assistant Superintendent Valentina Mickey, a former principal at Lincoln West, has been assigned to the school temporarily as its principal.

Responding to the petitioners, Cleveland Board of Education member Iris Rodriguez noted that the concerns of the petitioners were heard and asked that parents, students and staff support and collaborate with Ms. Mickey “and make sure this school year ends in a good, orderly fashion.”

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