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Former McKinley HS principal Crystal Boling-Barton passes away

Crystal Boling-Barton, former principal of McKinley High School, has passed away according to an announcement Wednesday by her family.
Crystal Boling-Barton, former principal of McKinley High School, has passed away according to an announcement Wednesday by her family.

A longtime educator in the Buffalo Public School system, who reached a settlement in a lengthy dispute with the district and then retired just two months ago, has died.

Crystal Boling-Barton's family confirmed her passing Wednesday in a written statement: "It is with great sadness that we announce the passing of our beloved Mother Crystal Boling-Barton. She served 42 years in the Buffalo Public School System and was the Principal of McKinley High School. She began her career as a teacher and was able to reach a small group of students, but she had bigger goals. So, she went into Administration, so that she could help and reach even more students and she certainly did that. She loved her job and took it very seriously. She enjoyed the relationships she made over the years and those relationships include her colleagues and the students that she oversaw. She has achieved some extraordinary accomplishments throughout her lifetime and our entire family is very proud of her. She will be missed dearly. Thank you to everyone who reached out with their thoughts and prayers. We ask that you please continue to keep our family in your prayers and we also ask for privacy at this time."

Boling-Barton served three decades as McKinley's principal, until 2017, when she was placed on administrative leave after the New York Civil Liberties Union accused her of discrimination against LGBTQ students. The NYCLU's lawsuit was dropped shortly after it was filed, but in 2019 Boling-Barton was again at odds with the district, which accused her of mishandling funds.

That was a charge she vehemently denied, and in turn she filed a countersuit, accusing the district and then superintendent Dr. Kriner Cash of discrimination against her.

The two sides reached a settlement in early April, and Boling-Barton retired later in the month.

Despite her issues with the school district, Boling-Barton also had her strong supporters. Following her retirement, an online petition drive was launched to rename the section of Elmwood Avenue in front of McKinley High School as Crystal Boling-Barton Way.