A principal at a New Haven, Connecticut charter school has resigned from his post after being caught on video pushing a student up against a wall. The resignation happens months after the incident occurred. Morgan Barth, the now ex-principal at Achievement First Amistad High School, encountered the student in the hallway in Oct. 2018.
Hours after the video was posted online by the New Haven Independent on Thursday, however, Barth decided to resign.
Amanda Pinto, the school’s senior communications director, was quick to cut ties with Barth.
“It’s clear that he could not be the leader of the school right now, given his actions and the feelings of the school community,” she said. “I think both of those things became clear to him.”
The incident reportedly happened in October outside of Barth’s office and followed a meeting with the student about an unspecified prior dispute. By November, Barth was disciplined and the school decided to seek a replacement.
The video shows Barth pushing the student up against a wall and following him down the school hallway.
Steven Cotton, who used to work as a behavioral specialist at Achievement First Amistad High School, said he knew about the video as early as October and told executives about it.
“To me, that sounds like a typical Achievement First cover-up,” he said. “My question to them is, if he was already going to leave and they were already looking for new leadership, why did you feel it was okay to keep him there for the rest of the year? If the video never came out, would you have let him stay around?”
“From the time I met that man, very intimidating to the kids,” Cotton claimed. “Multiple staff always referred to his style as intimidation, basically.” He also referred to the school as an “oppressive” environment in a Facebook video.
The school’s Chief External Officer Fatimah Barker responded to that video by saying it “does not show an accurate picture of the school.”
“We are proud of the many great things happening for students at AF Amistad High, but we also know there are ongoing issues,” Barker said. “We will work in the coming days, weeks and months to better understand and address them. We’re committed to making sure that AF Amistad High is always a place that parents, students, and teachers are proud of.”
[Image via YouTube screengrab]