FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. - Dozens of upset parents asked the School Board of Broward County to reconsider its decision to reassign or demote 12 principals during a meeting Monday.
The principals, including Washington Collado at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, learned this month they'd be reassigned or demoted.
"They have been informed they won't be returning to their schools, that they can apply for other jobs or they can be an assistant principle and accept a demotion," said Lisa Maxwell, executive director of the Broward Principals' and Assistants' Association. "It is just very strange. Nothing like this in the 20 years I have been doing this has ever happened in the district."
"It hurts all around because we are a family of values, of integrity, and this is something completely against it," said Karla Cabral, Collaod's niece.
Some blamed a new criteria used to judge the principals. Many of the principals were told they were underperforming despite recently receiving high marks in recent evaluations.
Students and parents at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School rallied last week in support of Collado.
"People are outraged. People are very, very disappointed and sad," said Jan Hediger, president of the school's Parent Teacher Student Association. "Many people feel disenfranchised like the people we elected to represent us are not doing that."
A petition asking the school board to stop Collado's demotion has more than 1,000 signatures.
"First, there are no principals in this system being terminated. There's no disciplinary action being taken on the principals," said Broward Supt. Robert Runcie.
Runcie previously said the principals lost their positions to find a better "fit" for the schools.
"There's no matrix, if you will, that targets any amount of people," he said. "We evaluate and look at all of our principals in all our schools, so if you see a list, that list has everyone on it."
Several parents speculated that Collado received his notice because he supported cheerleading coach Melissa Prochilo, who was fired despite being cleared of any wrongdoing involving her team.
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