Long Island high school principal banned from campus, supporters demand his reinstatement

Kristin Thorne Image
Tuesday, November 2, 2021
Principal banned from campus, supporters want him reinstated
(Previous coverage) Principal Paul Sibblies, who has been principal of Wyandanch High School since 2009, was reassigned after breaking up a fight between two students.

WYANDANCH, Long Island (WABC) -- The Wyandanch School District is requiring the Wyandanch High School principal to work from home as they investigate a "school-related incident."

Eyewitness News has learned that principal Paul Sibblies, who has been principal of Wyandanch High School since 2009, was reassigned after breaking up a fight between two female students on October 4 during school dismissal.

A law firm representing a former teacher at the high school who is suing Sibblies for sexual harassment provided Eyewitness News several videos of the incident.

One video shows two girls charging at each other. Sibblies flies into the middle breaking them up and tackling one of the girls to the ground.

Another video shows Sibblies on top of one of the girls on the ground and then he picks her up by the back of her shirt and escorts her away.

"He didn't intentionally attack anyone - that's not in his character" said Sherena Jay, a Wyandanch High School alumna who has been supporting Sibblies.

Suffolk police said they were not called to the incident and no police report was filed. They said a woman did complain to officers at the local precinct, but no report was filed.

Pierre Patrick, who had several children graduate under Sibblies, supports Sibblies' reaction.

"He made a split decision and he did what he did," Patrick said. "Some people just sit back and don't do nothing."

Eyewitness News reporter Kristin Thorne spoke with the mother of the other girl, not the one Sibblies tackled. She did not want to appear on camera, but said she supported what Sibblies did because the other girl has been bullying her daughter for years.

Eyewitness News reached out to Sibblies for an interview, but he declined.

The Wyandanch School District Superintendent Gina Talbert said in a statement to Eyewitness News, "The district is working with legal counsel and taking all necessary steps to conclude the investigation regarding Mr. Paul Sibblies as soon as possible."

Talbert said the school's assistant principal and acting assistant principal are serving in the building in Sibblies' absence.

Last Friday, a similar fight broke out outside the high school during dismissal.

Shirley White said her 41-year-old son was shot in the jaw after rushing to the school to help his sister.

"My son got a phone call that his sister was being jumped up here," White said.

White said her son is still in the hospital.

Suffolk Police responded to the scene. No arrests have been made.

Some supporters of Sibblies believe if he was in the school building the incident may not have happened.

"I think that at the end of the day if he was here none of this would have went down," Sabrina Clayton said.

White said the school should have better security because she said she warned school administrators that more student fights were imminent.

Some residents are urging school administrators to reinstate Sibblies immediately. They've even held rallies outside of the school.

"He cares for these children up here," Pawnee Patrick said. "They need him back up here."

Jay said Sibblies has created a mentoring program to help students, lowered school suspensions and instituted a school uniform.

Robert Johnson said students trust Sibblies and respect him. He's known to students as "Sibbs."

"He's great for the school," Johnson said. "He's great for the kids."

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