When the Princeton School Board announced that Princeton High School Principal Frank Chmiel ’98 had been placed on administrative leave, some students and parents expressed their outrage and disbelief, even walking out during school. Now, Chmiel is requesting a public hearing in an attempt to appeal his removal.
Both Chmiel’s lawyers and representatives from the Princeton Board of Education confirmed to The Daily Princetonian that Chmiel requested a “Donaldson hearing.” A Donaldson hearing is an informal appearance before the local Board of Education where the Board may vote to override a dismissal. According to one of his lawyers, David Schroth, Chmiel requested the hearing be public.
It is currently unclear when the hearing will be held, but New Jersey law mandates that it be within 30 calendar days from when Chmiel received the reasons for his dismissal. Schroth told the ‘Prince’ that the hearing “should be within 20 days, give or take.”
Schroth says the process so far has been “largely procedural,” and that he is optimistic on how the hearing will go.
“I am confident that we will present to the board sufficient reasons for them to renew Frank Chmiel as principal for Princeton High School,” Schroth said. “Obviously, I don't have a crystal ball and can’t tell you what the Board of Education will decide. But I believe that we will give them the reasons to reinstate Frank Chmiel.”
“[Princeton Public Schools] can confirm that Frank Chmiel's lawyers requested a Donaldson hearing in public. No date has been set yet, but the district anticipates that within the next few days a date will be set for the hearing,” Elizabeth Collier, the Public Information Officer for Princeton Public Schools, wrote in a statement to the ‘Prince.’ “At this point, Mr. Chmiel has only waived his privacy rights for the Donaldson hearing, not for any time before or after the Donaldson hearing.”
Chmiel’s team has not made the reasons for dismissal public yet. Schroth says that they intend the hearing to be public — where their job will be to convince the Board that the decision of nonrenewal is incorrect — and “beyond that, we haven’t finalized any other decision making process.”
The Board can decide not to vote, indirectly approving the nonrenewal of Chmiel’s contract, but Schroth previously told the ‘Prince’ that he is looking at next steps should the Board maintain Chmiel’s removal.
“Depending on what happens, we do have the ability to take the case further, if necessary to the Office of Administrative Law,” Schroth said. “I also am exploring the option of separate civil litigation, which may be viable in this case.”
Charlie Roth ’25 is a head Data editor and senior News writer of the Daily Princetonian who focuses on local politics.
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