Sudden ousting of Princeton High School principal angers students, parents

Students say that Principal Frank Chmiel was in school on Thursday and then was gone. They are demanding to know why.

Matt Trapani and Chris Keating

Mar 20, 2023, 8:18 PM

Updated 492 days ago


Parents and students at Princeton High School are demanding to know why a beloved principal was suddenly let go without any warning.
Students say that Principal Frank Chmiel was in school on Thursday and then was gone.
"Why did they push him out in the middle of the school year without any warning? That's traumatizing,” says parent Sasha Weinstein.
Students held a rally demanding answers. They say Chmiel changed their lives for the better. Weinstein says she saw Chmiel's impact in person while volunteering. She says he stoked ambition and was a positive voice.
"He's such an impact on the students, and I saw it,” Weinstein says. "We want transparency and accountability from the Board of Ed and [Superintendent Dr. Carol] Kelley.”
The Board of Education has not explained why Chmiel was let go. A statement was released stating "We know that leadership changes during the school year are difficult."
The statement continued, "The Board unanimously supported and supports the Superintendent and the difficult decisions that had to be made."
A petition has collected 2,300 names. Senior Ashey Chen says she would like to hand-deliver the petition to the Board of Education.
"I feel like we're all caught in a really weird, awkward place right now because there's a lot of confusion. There's a lot of anger,” says Chen.
Students say they are hoping Chmiel can get his job back because his impact is missed.
"He made me confident in myself, that I'd be able to do things and go far in life,” says student Ida Sidiak.
News 12 New Jersey reached out to Kelley for comment to find out if this effort will make a difference.
The superintendent responded with a statement, “On March 17, 2023, we informed our school community of leadership changes at Princeton High School. In response to this news, some students chose to engage in a peaceful planned demonstration [Monday] afternoon. Student voice is something that we value and encourage here in Princeton. I applaud our students who participated as they did so with the utmost maturity and respect."
The statement continued, "I am restricted by law from sharing any specifics of personnel matters. We are committed to keeping our community informed and will share more public information as we are able to do so.”

More from News 12