Superintendent, Principal Resign After Outrage Over Anti-Israel Speaker Invite

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Kate Anderson Contributor
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The Bloomfield Hills School District (BHSD) board accepted the official resignations of the superintendent and principal Thursday after they approved an event with an anti-Israel speaker last month.

Huwaida Arraf, a Palestinian activist and human rights lawyer, was invited to speak at Bloomfield Hills High School on March 14 where she reportedly accused Israel of abusing Palestinians. Superintendent Pat Watson and the high school Principal Lawrence Stroughter resigned following immense backlash from parents and students after the event. (RELATED: ‘Your Antisemitism Is Showing’: New York City Council Members Refuse To Vote For ‘End Jewish Hatred’ Resolution)

Watson’s reason for his resignation was listed as “retirement” and will take effect on Aug. 1, while Stroughter said that he was leaving his role as principal for personal reasons effective June 19, according to the agenda.

Agenda_2023_4_27_Meeting(411) by Kate Anderson on Scribd

Stroughter issued an apology following the criticism, saying that Arraf had violated an agreement with the school to refrain from discussing the Israel-Gaza conflict.

“Without prior knowledge of the organizers, the speaker discussed the conflict in Gaza from their own personal political perspective and experience,” Stroughter wrote in March. “This discussion was outside of the perimeters of the assembly and was addressed by the high school administration immediately after the speaker left.”

A week after his apology was sent to parents, Stroughter was placed on leave, according to the Oakland Press, and then on April 18 he announced that he would be resigning but did not explain the reason for his departure. Watson made a similar announcement on the same day, citing personal reasons for his decision, according to the Detroit News.

“Though this is a difficult decision, please know that I am truly committed to working with our Board of Education and administration to support BHS through the transition,” Watson wrote. “I firmly believe that our district is well positioned for future success. I am thankful to have had the opportunity to serve the students, staff, and community of Bloomfield Hills Schools as your superintendent.”

The board also announced that they were beginning the search for a new superintendent, according to the agenda. A BHHS spokesperson told the Daily Caller News Foundation that Stroughter was planning on pursuing “other opportunities in education” and that “Mr. William Simms will continue to serve as the Interim Principal.”

BHSD, Watson and Stroughter did not immediately respond to the DCNF’s request for comment.

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