We, current and former students and faculty of St. Francis Preparatory High School, as well as concerned and offended bystanders (https://www.facebook.com/groups/186545264820973/), insist that the school formally apologize to a loved and well-respected former member of their staff, Mr. Mark Krolikowski.
"Mr. K," as he was affectionately known by most of his students, had worked for SFP for over 30 years and was always himself: funny, eccentric, loving, and accepting. Ask anyone who had him and they will rave about his stellar teaching and friendly demeanor. In a school in which many of the faculty can often be bossy and tyrannical, Mr. K created a warm and welcoming environment for all his students and their peers.
However, his long track record of spectacular teaching seemed to carry no weight when a lone parent complained about his "feminine" appearance back in 2011. Mr. K, for as long as we have known him, has always donned several gold hoop earrings, dyed hair, fashionable (but appropriate and professional) clothing, and well-manicured nails. This was never an issue amongst his students or their parents until that one student's mother complained to the school.
According to the New York Post, "The subsequent questions from his bosses forced Krolikowski to tell then-Principal Leonard Conway and assistant principal Patrick McLaughlin he was transgender, court papers state. The revelations came as such a shock, the school leaders allegedly forgot the golden rule and bashed Krolikowski as 'worse than gay' and banned him from appearing at public events, court papers show. After agreeing to tone down his appearance by losing the earrings and feminine nails, Krolikowski said he got stellar evaluations during the 2011-12 school year. Despite this, Krolikowski claims his bosses called him insubordinate in June 2012 for allegedly continuing to go 'his own way,' according to court papers."
This is a disgusting display of discrimination and must be acted against and apologized for. While we do not expect Mr. K to return to Prep, we do expect the school to apologize for its behavior and its ultimate decision to expel such a valued member from their staff. In a school that preaches love, respect, and acceptance, we are appalled to see that their lessons come with hateful fine print.