CRANFORD, NJ — A petition was recently created at Change.org to protest the recent firing of Cranford High School Principal Kate McCabe. The petition was created by Cranford resident and Cranford High School alumni Bart Lahiff. So far the petition has gained hundreds of signatures.
“From knowing students in our 1,150 student population, to becoming the first principal to attend the recent art festival, she has fully invested herself in every aspect of Cranford High School, even those not popularized or with notoriety.” the petition states. “She serves as an inspiration to every student and every faculty member who has had the pleasure of working under her diligent and brilliant leadership.”
McCabe and the township school district said in a joint statement that her termination is the district’s decision. She will end the school year on a positive note, keeping the student population as the number one priority. Her goal is to keep any distractions at bay.
“While I am very appreciative of your support, we must avoid any continuing efforts to support me that distract us from the educational program and might not celebrate the achievements of our students,” McCabe wrote.
The goal of the petition is to gain 1,000 signatures. It was created to show support for McCabe and to express their gratitude for the efforts she made while acting as principal. She will be remembered for her positive contributions to the Cranford student body despite her termination.
“The petition was an attempt to create a forum where impassioned students and parents could show their solidarity for Mrs. McCabe,” said Lahiff. “It’s a way for them to express the impact she’s had on them personally. Primarily, the goal was to make sure Mrs. McCabe knew that her efforts had not gone unappreciated. Also, right after any unpopular decision, there is a period of waiting during which people can express their frustration effectively, or can turn to less productive means. I, as well as others, wanted to make sure we could capitalize on this frustration while remaining productive and professional. I felt that a petition was the easiest way to navigate that divide.”
When it comes to the specific details surrounding her termination, Lahiff refused to comment. His intention isn’t to spark gossip or create a scandal. The petition is merely a way for him to demonstrate his support of McCabe.
“I don’t want to speculate anything erroneously,” Lahiff said.
According to Kyle Benor of Cranford, the reason behind her termination hasn’t been revealed. The issue might be discussed in greater detail at the next Board of Education meeting.
When asked about the reasoning behind the decision, Board of Education members Maria Loikith and Lisa A. Carbone refused to comment, and members Kristen Mallon, Patrick Lynch, Nicole Sherrin Kessler, William Hulse, Daniel DeMarco, Ryan Cooper, and Kurt Petschow Jr. did not respond to emails as of press time to comment on the situation.
“No one knows why she was terminated,” said Benor. “They might not have even given her a reason. She can write to the Board of Education in 32 days to request the information. When we heard the news, we created a Facebook group. Bart created the petition to send to the superintendent. The principal doesn’t even know why she was terminated. She’s invested in the community and not to support her wouldn’t be the right thing to do in our minds. At the Board of Education meeting this Monday, we will have speakers try to convince members to change their minds,” Benor said of the May 23 Board of Education meeting.
Several signers of the petition have left comments regarding the matter on the webpage. Their warm regards for McCabe’s dedication and leadership show that her efforts have not gone unrecognized. Despite the district’s decision, she is able to carry out her term as principal with dignity and respect.
“Mrs. McCabe is a principal that really cares about her students” wrote Tyler McMahon of Cranford. “It is completely wrong to me that not only is her firing ill-advised, but we live in a town where a staple in our high school community can be called one morning out of the blue and told she is being let go. The decision does not make sense for her, the community or the countless students she made better people.”
“I am signing because of the respect that Mrs. McCabe gave to every student,” wrote Katrina Wischusen, of Cranford. “As evidenced by her Twitter feed, she attended every school possible, no matter for academics, athletics or the arts. She took the time to learn every student’s name, even before having a conversation with them. She is a bright light in this community, so I am hoping, for the sake of the student body, that the Board of Education will reconsider this seemingly-wrongful termination.”