DC

‘I Was Struggling:' Schools Chancellor Refuses DC Council Members' Demands to Resign

D.C. Public Schools Chancellor Antwan Wilson refused seven city council members' calls that he resign after the mayor's office revealed he bypassed the highly competitive public school lottery system to get his daughter a coveted seat at a top high school.

"My family was in a crisis," Wilson told News4 Monday evening. "I was struggling."

Deputy Mayor for Education Jennifer Niles resigned Friday after allowing Wilson to bypass the lottery, in direct violation of a mayoral order issued last year, as News4 was first to report.

But Wilson told News4 he will not step down.

"I don't want a pass," he said. "What I want to do is lead the system."

Seven of the 13 D.C. Council members say Wilson should be ousted: Charles Allen, Mary Cheh, Vincent Gray, Kenyan McDuffie, Brianne Nadeau, Elissa Silverman and Robert White. 

Ward 8 Council member Trayon White said in an Instagram post Tuesday morning that he "will not be able to stand by the chancellor." However, he said he does not plan to call for the chancellor's resignation. 

Allen, the Council member for Ward 6, said on Twitter on Monday that Wilson had “lost -- and will be unable to regain -- the trust of so many parents that is vital to the success of DC Public Schools." 

At-large Council member Robert White was the first to ask Wilson to step down, on Saturday. White wrote on Twitter that he had “lost confidence in our DC Public Schools leadership" and he has witnessed "no accountability within DCPS central office."

D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser said on Friday that she stood by the decision to ask Niles, not Wilson, to resign.

"I recognize that the chancellor had what he thought was an untenable family situation, and he was trying to resolve it and trying to resolve it by asking his supervisor what to do," she said.

Niles and Wilson have both been referred to the D.C. Office of the Inspector General and ethics board for separate investigations.

Niles' departure comes amid a time of crisis for DCPS. The FBI, U.S. Department of Education and the D.C. Office of the Inspector General are investigating the school system following revelations of inflated graduation rates.

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