By: Megan McGibney
The local community education council representing parts of Bed-Stuy and Crown Heights has called on the principal of P.S. 243 in Crown Heights to immediately resign after numerous reports surfaced of verbal abuse, bullying and other misconduct towards staff, faculty and students.
The Community Education Council 16 (CEC16) has unanimously voted for the immediate resignation of Karen Hambright-Glover, who has been the principal of P.S. 243 for 17 years.
The Council cited as reason for the resignation “a long, documented history of being disrespectful, dismissive and unprofessional in communicating with students, families and school staff,” and that her “behavior impedes the District 16 mission of improving the quality of its schools."
Documents that were sent to CEC16 by those accusing Hambright-Glover of misconduct, and which were obtained by BK Reader, include emails describing Hambright-Glovers’ treatment of others, while screenshots of text messages show her using obscenities in regards to her colleagues. Hambright-Glover is also being accused of using foul language towards fellow principals within District 16.
CEC16 President NeQuan McLean said the documents were forwarded to the Department of Education (DOE) Office of Special Investigations and the Special Commissioner of Investigation for the New York City School District.
In one email, a former staff member accuses Hambright-Glover of calling them a “b***h” and a “liar” when confronted over a payment issue. Other allegations include substitute teachers refusing to teach at P.S. 243; a high turnover of teachers and staff; and students encouraged to spy on their teachers for the principal.
The emails also allege that while all DOE paraprofessionals need to be trained on Level 2 Diabetes, only two are trained at P.S. 243.
As for the text messages, Hambright-Glover calls one of the administrators of the Brooklyn North Borough Office’s Special Ed & Community Support a “dumb a**" and refers to one D16 principal as a “punk motherf***er” and an assistant principal in D16 as a “fat b***h." The text messages also show her calling special education students “undesirables."
“Mrs. Hambright's behavior has always been crude and unprofessional since the day she became principal at PS 243,” a former staff member told BK Reader. “The union rep has to tell her on several occasions of correct protocol. Her behavior happens at least once a week in some form or fashion.”
A former teacher, who gave her name as Tina for this article, also describes Hambright-Glover’s behavior as toxic and says she frequently humiliates people.
“Any time she’s had something to say, it was a nasty tone and it was in front of my students or it was in front of other staff members with a demeaning tone.”
McLean told BK Reader that Hambright-Glover had been principal for nearly 17 years despite the many complaintsit was because she was tenured, adding that "after three years of tenure, [principals] are really hard to get rid of."
“The biggest concern that we have is she’s a union rep for the district," McLean said. “Other principals look up to her, and that type of language being used about colleagues, it’s just really concerning all-around. The district leadership that is supposed to be modeled for other principals [is not] modeled in their own building.”
This is not the first time Hambright-Glover has fielded complaints. Back in 2015, CBS2 News reported that Hambright-Glover went on a Facebook rant about a student and his mother by saying, “monkey u made." Then-Chancellor Carmen Farina said the incident was being monitored. According to CBS2, the National Action Network called for her resignation.
Only 56% of the school’s teachers recommend P.S. 243 for students, according to a 2019 DOE survey. The resolution also states that enrollment has been falling since Hambright-Glover became principal in 2005, though it appears it had been declining beforehand as charter school attendance increases in the neighborhood.
DOE Deputy Press Secretary Nathaniel Styer told BK Reader the allegations were "very serious, and every student and staff member deserves school leadership that is supportive and respectful."
"The Superintendent is directly intervening, and will be taking appropriate disciplinary steps and closely monitoring this school while all allegations are investigated.”
BK Reader contacted Hambright-Glover for a comment, but did not receive a response.