Education

Bellaire Parents Write HISD Superintendent, Objecting to the Removal of Their Principal

At least some Cardinal parents are not happy about the principal's removal.
At least some Cardinal parents are not happy about the principal's removal. Screenshot of Bellaire High School website

A group of Bellaire parents and former students Thursday morning posted a letter to Houston Superintendent Millard House II to protest the removal of Michael McDonough, as principal of their high school, saying he is the reason their children stay in HISD.

McDonough has been temporarily reassigned to an unknown elsewhere in the midst of what the district calls an investigation, without providing any other details saying it's a personnel manner.

Recently Bellaire High School has been in the news because of allegations that players on its baseball team made racial remarks about a Black player from Westbury High during a game. Some parents called for the Bellaire High baseball coach to be removed from his position.  Also KPRC reported about an investigation into bullying involving a Bellaire ninth grader who was allegedly beaten and suffered a broken nose at the school.

This letter was posted Thursday morning on the Bellaire High School alumni website:

Dear Superintendent House
It has just come to our attention that Mr. McDonough was removed from Bellaire High School this morning without any notice given. As a parent and a member of the PTO Board of Bellaire High School, I am shocked and in disbelief. Mr. McDonough is extremely well liked among the parents of students at Bellaire High School, as well as the students at the school. He has served at the school for more than 15 years as principal. Him being principals of Bellaire High School is one of the primary reasons we send our children to the school. We have the utmost respect for him and his leadership. 
It is my personal opinion that you are making some very grave mistakes in leadership as superintendent of HISD. Many parents within the Bellaire zoning area have options to stay in HISD or send their kids to private schools. Many have faith in Bellaire High School on account of Mr. McDonough's leadership and choose Bellaire High School over other options. You have done a great disservice to the parents of students, and especially the students themselves, in taking this action without due process, without consultation of school leadership, without consultation to teachers, and without consultation to parents or students. I don't think I can emphasize what a driving force Mr. McDonough is to Bellaire High School, and how his leadership over these many years have positively shaped the Bellaire High School community. I am dumbfounded by this decision and know that it will negatively impact the high school and the community as a whole.
I imagine you were not at the town hall nor reviewed feedback from the most recent town hall hosted by HISD District V trustee, Sue Diegard, but one of the teachers from Bellaire High School highly commended Mr. McDonough's leadership, stating that she had gone to a private school for a short time, but returned to Bellaire High School because she respected Mr. McDonough and preferred working under his direction. 
Further, Mr. McDonough's track record at successful learning opportunities is remarkable. As has been widely publicized, Bellaire High School had 9 valedictorians in the 2021 graduating class, and 12 this year. Further, Bellaire High School had 21 National Merit Scholars this year, compared with 2 from Lamar High School, and one from Heights High School. Mr. McDonough is talented in his ability to encourage all students to succeed and do their best. 
I do not know the reason for Mr. McDonough's sudden removal. To me, it appears short-sided and done with absolutely no consultation of the larger student body, the current teachers, or parent input. This decision will have an extremely negative impact on the school and on the community as a whole, as Mr. McDonough was very well-liked and the primary reason for many parents trusting their children's education to Bellaire High School. 
I pray that you reconsider these actions and reinstall Mr. McDonough's as Bellaire's principal as soon as possible.
Dear Mr. House, Dr. Cruz, and Dr. Watts,
I have learned from my student that our principal at Bellaire High school has been removed from school this morning. I trust the safety of my child with Mr. McDonough and his staff. Why Haven't the parents been notified of Mr. McDonough’s removal? Who is in charge? This is a clear violation of HISD communication policy by the District. 
My family stayed in HISD because of Mr. McDonough’s leadership. What’s HISD’s strategy by removing a principal who consistently produce results? Does the success of school even matter? 
Unfortunately, I am unable to sign up to speak at the Board Meeting on Thursday as the speaking deadline has past. I have lots of questions.   
Trust is earned. Please convince me that I can trust you with my students in HISD.
Let's Stand Behind Mike!
Let Your Voice Be Heard

You can send your opinion to HISD Superintendent House.

Richard Cruz - rick.cruz@houstonisd.org
Dr. Denise Watts - denise.watts@houstonisd.org
Mr. House - hisdsuperintendent@houstonisd.org
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