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BTF president Rumore demands action on suspended McKinley teacher

The McKinley High School teacher who was suspended with pay after being injured in a Jan. 3 altercation with a student must either be charged by Wednesday with some violation or be reinstated, the Buffalo Teachers Federation contended Saturday.

The top lawyer for the Buffalo Public Schools said the union is wrong.

In a letter to Superintendent Kriner Cash, union president Philip Rumore said the BTF will take "appropriate legal action" if the teacher isn't either charged or reinstated before the next scheduled meeting of the Board of Education, which is set for 5:30 p.m. Wednesday.

Rumore's letter said state law allows Cash to suspend an employee only until the next regular meeting of the board.

"We would certainly welcome his challenge," said Nathaniel Kuzma, general counsel for the Buffalo Public Schools.

The student was arrested on a felony assault charge. The union said the 14-year-old boy attacked the teacher, who reportedly had confiscated the boy's cellphone because he was listening to music in class.

Kuzma said "the interaction between the teacher and the student" is being investigated.

"There is more to the story than what has been reported," Kuzma said, but he wouldn't reveal what that was.

He said the district's probe will be complete soon, possibly in time for the board meeting. But Kuzma denied Rumore's statement that the district has to take some action against the teacher before that meeting.

"We strongly, vociferously disagree with his interpretation of the law," Kuzma said.

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