Petitions Launched For, Against Firing of Asst Principal Who Criticized Police at Rochester BLM Rally

Petitions have been set up both in favor of and in opposition to a high school assistant principal who yelled "f**k the police" at a Rochester, New York, protest Friday evening.

Parents, students and fellow staff at the Spencerport Central School District are split on video-recorded comments made by Steven Lysenko, an assistant principal at Spencerport High School, during a rally demanding justice for Daniel Prude.

Lysenko can be heard criticizing the Rochester Police Department for "shooting pepper spray" at protesters angered over the March death of 41-year-old Prude, a Black man who died from asphyxiation after being restrained by police. Rochester protests were ignited last week after video of the incident that led to his death was released publicly.

Local Spencerport families took to social media and launched competing petitions over the weekend, which either called for Lysenko's firing or urged district administrators to keep him on for "setting a good example."

WARNING: video below contains language that may be offensive.

I always had a feeling Lysenko was a real one 🤞🏼 pic.twitter.com/FKzua1OQOf

— sammie (@SammieRomagnol0) September 5, 2020

"We didn't do anything but chant and sing, all the way across the bridge, at which point we met the Rochester Police Department—and guess what happened?" Lysenko said in the video he recorded of himself at the Friday protest. "Our peacekeepers ended up shooting pepper spray at us for singing and chanting and telling them what a sh**y-ass job they were doing. They can f**k right off, America. F**k the police, f**k the Rochester Police Department. Thank you."

One petition that has received about 3,200 of 5,000 signatures offered support for Lysenko and appealed to area families to do the same following his controversial Facebook live video post.

"Mr. Lysenko shared his opinion on the BLM movement and the RPD. He is setting a good example to the students at Spencerport showing us to fight for what we believe in. Swear words are just words and should not be a reason to be fired. We all hear swear words anyways so it is not a big deal. If you want him to stay please sign this," stated the Change.org petition set up by Danielle Rooney.

Another petition established Saturday on Change.org demanded that Lysenko be immediately fired from his position.

"It has always been said in school we do not speak on our political or religious beliefs. To see a public educator stating such a vulgar statement online disrespecting the men and women of our community is intolerable. This is unprofessional and I do not want someone who acts out such manner influencing my peers or community. I do not care your beliefs, no educator should set this example," read the petition calling for Lysenko's dismissal.

Newsweek reached out to district officials and creators of the respective petitions seeking additional remarks Sunday afternoon.

In contrast to Lysenko's description of events at the Rochester protests, downtown protests saw some demonstrators break off and begin vandalizing and destroying local restaurants and businesses. One restaurant was vandalized despite offering protesters water and respite in solidarity with the Daniel Prude demonstrations.

spencerport rochester assistant principal lysenko
Petitions have been set up both in favor and in opposition to a Spencerport assistant principal who yelled "f**k the police" at a Rochester, New York, protest Friday evening. Screenshot: Twitter