Principal of George Washington High School replaced

WPVI logo
Tuesday, December 8, 2015
VIDEO: Principal of George Washington High replaced
EMBED <>More Videos

The principal of the troubled George Washington High School in Northeast Philadelphia has been replaced.

SOMERTON (WPVI) -- The principal of the troubled George Washington High School in Northeast Philadelphia has been replaced.

The School District of Philadelphia made the decision to remove Principal Gene Jones from the school on Monday night. He was replaced with two new co-principals.

The move came after a series of incidents, including one earlier Monday in which a teacher was injured.

The assault happened after three students barged into his classroom to retrieve a cell phone from another student.

"We've got to do something immediate. Something that will change the school. This is an immediate, very unusual action that we're taking in reassigning the principal," said district spokesman Fernando Gallard.

Parents, students, and staff have been complaining about a breakdown in discipline. That includes a fight last month in which a boy was hospitalized after putting his fist through a window.

Philadelphia Federation of Teachers President Jerry Jordan released a statement saying, "Yesterday's incident at George Washington High School is emblematic of the complete negligence of the District in ensuring that our schools are places of community and learning. The educators and students at Washington and across Philadelphia are working and learning in unbearable circumstances."

The district says the number of incidents at the high school are actually down from last year, and Philadelphia police tell Action News they do not consider George Washington High to be one of the more problematic schools in the district.

Still, there was a strong police presence on Tuesday. After school, students had mixed reaction to the reassignment of their principal.

"There was no reason to get rid of Principal Jones. Principal Jones did everything in his power for the kids and for the faculty," said senior Brianna Tuegle.

"He couldn't stop the fights. As many security guards as he brought to the school, it wasn't enough," said senior Johanna Washington.

The district says it did a security assessment last week and a new safety plan is in place. There will also be meetings with staff and students to come up with new ideas.

As for Monday's assault on the teacher, two students are charged with aggravated assault and police are trying to identify the third who was involved.