Report: Boys and Girls leader stands by decision to urge struggling students to transfer

The new leader of Boys and Girls High School stood by his decision to encourage struggling students to transfer out of the school during a recent meeting with parents, according to DNAinfo.

Chalkbeat reported last week that Boys and Girls students who are far behind in credits or otherwise unlikely to graduate this year have been urged to move to other schools since Principal Michael Wiltshire took over last month. Calvin Brown Jr., a class president and debate team captain who was missing credits, said he was pressured to switch to an alternative school even though he wanted to stay at Boys and Girls. Roughly 30 students have transferred out since Wiltshire came on about three weeks ago, sources said.

Wiltshire, who the city appointed to turn around Boys and Girls last month, didn’t respond to messages from Chalkbeat before the story was published. However, he did respond to the report during an open house at the school on Saturday, according to DNAinfo.

Wiltshire said he had suggested that older students who are missing credits should consider transferring to different schools, according to the news site. That practice is not unusual, and so-called transfer schools are designed to help off-track students catch up and graduate. However, schools are not allowed to pressure students to transfer against their will, and some critics question whether urging struggling students to switch schools should be used as a strategy to improve low-performing schools.

Wiltshire also denied putting students “in the streets,” according to the report. None of Chalkbeat’s sources said students were forced out of the school system, only that some students were pressured to move to different schools.