Bartram principal moved after scuffle with student

20140706_inq_rrxbartram06-a
Abdul-Mubdi Muhammad allegedly pushed youth.

The principal of Bartram High School has been reassigned after he allegedly pushed a student during a dispute, Philadelphia School District officials said Thursday.

The incident happened Wednesday, when Abdul-Mubdi Muhammad and a student began quarreling over the young man's clothing - the boy had come to school out of uniform, and Muhammad wanted him to go home, officials said.

"He got into a verbal altercation with the student, which resulted in him pushing the student, and the student pushing him back," said Fernando Gallard, a spokesman for the School District.

Neither Muhammad nor the student suffered injuries, authorities said.

Philadelphia police were called, though no arrests were made. Police and the district are investigating the incident.

Muhammad has been temporarily reassigned with pay to an office setting where he does not come into contact with students while the investigation is conducted, Gallard said.

"We take incidents like this very seriously," Gallard said. "We are looking at this, and will take all necessary steps."

Muhammad did not return a request for comment. His lawyer, Scott L. Kramer, indicated Thursday night that no statements would be made while the criminal investigation is pending.

Muhammad, 36, was in his second year as principal of the Southwest Philadelphia high school. He had also worked as a charter-school administrator and a district math teacher, at Olney and Masterman Schools.

He was named to run Bartram at a rocky point in the school's history.

"What I've been charged to do is clean up," Muhammad told The Inquirer in 2014.

He said his charge was to provide opportunities for students who had long been without them, to implement basic systems for a school that has been rocked by violence.

In March 2014, one staff member was knocked unconscious by a student; another teacher was knocked down that November.

After the November attack, Muhammad reiterated his intent to rebuild Bartram.

"We're trying to develop a culture here," he said. "We have to rebuild the idea that this is an academic setting, that no, you can't do that thing you could do last year. There must be visible consequences for everyone."

kgraham@phillynews.com

215-854-5146@newskag

www.philly.com/schoolfiles