A New York City high school principal has come under fire amid recent reports that he excluded 500 Catholic children from an admissions list of 4,000 students applying to the school, the New York Post reported. Khurshid Abdul-Mutakabbir, principal of Maspeth High School, a highly regarded public school in Queens, claims he made a “clerical error” in omitting only Catholic school students from the list.
But others say the mistake may have been intentional, given Abdul-Mutakabbir’s alleged sentiments toward Christian schools. The principal reportedly expressed his negative views during a phone call with leaders from the Juniper Park Civic Association. According to Juniper Hill president Bob Holden, Abdul-Mutakabbir suggested that parochial applicants pose a “problem.”
“He said, ‘In all honesty parochial schools are a problem because many of the students opt out and don’t go to my school. That leaves a seat [empty] and it costs the school funding,’” Holden, who has called for an investigation into the so-called error, told the Post.
Maspeth is a “limited unscreened” school that gives special priority to applicants who live nearby and attend information sessions and open houses. Out of the 500 Catholic students who applied to Maspeth, 207 attended an information session held by the school. None of these students, however, were admitted, as Abdul-Mutakabbir had apparently neglected to mark them for priority.
In a 2013 interview, Abdul-Mutakabbir described himself as “determined, passionate, and fair.” But as of this recent incident, parents and students have their doubts.
Since the problem was reported, officials from the Department of Education entered the 207 Catholic school students into a second admissions lottery, QNS reported. This time, 66 students were admitted.
But there are still many left unsatisfied after the troubling revelation at Maspeth. Among those individuals is Queens City Councilwoman, Elizabeth Crowley, who is drafting legislation that would force the DOE to report application and admission numbers for all “limited unscreened” high schools, the Post reported.
“I’m outraged and this is incredibly frustrating,” Crowley told the Post. “The principal’s explanation is not good enough. We need much greater transparency so parents can rest assured that they’re not being discriminated against.”
Other Must-Read Stories: