2004-10-01 / Front Page

BCHS Principal Accused Of ‘Racist’ Request

By Howard Schwach


Dr. David Morris, the principal of Beach Channel High School, greets students and parents during a 2003 school assembly for two young students who had recently been killed in separate incidents.
Dr. David Morris, the principal of Beach Channel High School, greets students and parents during a 2003 school assembly for two young students who had recently been killed in separate incidents. Did he or didn’t he? A school source says Beach Channel High School Principal David Morris made a racist request to police officials recently, but Morris says he was misunderstood.

According to a member of the Beach Channel High School community, who asked to remain anonymous for fear of retribution, Morris told NYPD personnel who are in charge of the department’s School Security Officers that he wanted to “keep white cops out of his school,” because “white cops harass our black males.”

He requested that only black cops be assigned to the building.

Morris, however, denies that he made that specific request in that way.

“This is a total misunderstanding,” Morris told The Wave. “The police have always been good to me and to the school. All I was talking with the officers about was respect. We need officers who can gain the respect of our students, and that is what I was talking about. Many of our students won’t give respect to any authority figure, not even to God.”

Morris says that he cannot remember the exact words that he used at the time because, “The entire conversation took place in the hallway and lasted less than a minute.”

“I know that one police officer who was there took it the wrong way,” Morris added, saying that he was not even sure who the officer was.

“Sergeant [Michael] O’Sullivan [the 100 Precinct school sergeant] has always been here when I need him,” Morris said. “I need him and the cops to be on our side and I would never knowingly jeopardize that relationship.”

Morris added that his grandfather was a police officer and that he is married to a “half-Irish” woman.

“I have no racial problems,” he said.

NYPD sources, when confronted with Morris’ disclaimer, however, said that Morris had indeed made the statement, but added that he was later contrite about the request.

According to the law enforcement source, Morris has offered to apologize to the precinct’s officers for his comments.

Kelly Devers, a spokesperson for the Department of Education, however, told The Wave that she had spoken to Region Five Superintendent Kathleen Cashin about the incident and that Cashin had told her, “The entire thing is a misunderstanding. Principal Morris never said that or made that request.”

Devers added, “He offered to apologize not for what he said, but for the misunderstanding that it brought.”

Morris corroborated that during his interview with The Wave.

The source that first brought the story to The Wave said that the paper was contacted because the incident “is an indication of the way the school is being run,” and that a number of those who know about the request believe that the community had a right to know what was going on in its public schools.

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