School officials suspended as Brownsville school protest continues into second day

BROWNSVILLE, Tenn. — Peaceful protests continued for a second day Tuesday at Haywood High School in Brownsville, and district officials confirmed the principal and vice principal of the school have been suspended without pay during an investigation.

Some students walked out of class Monday and Tuesday after social media posts from students circulated this weekend that appeared to advocate violence against black students.

Students are participating in protests because they say the school only assigned the students to write an essay as punishment. Students and adults who support them say they want to see further punishment.

"We want the students that was involved with the social media to be suspended indefinitely from the school," said pastor Undrae Johnson.

Haywood County Schools officials are investigating the matter and hope to finish that investigation this week. Tuesday, they met with members of the NAACP.

The next steps, according to the district, include "immediate removal of all students involved on the baseball team and others, who are responsible for making these life-threating comments/remarks, from the school system."

Tuesday, the students walked to a nearby church to warm up. Around noon, they walked back to the school and went inside, escorted by several adults who left the school after the students went in.

Students are back in class as part of a collaborative effort involving the school superintendent, chief academic officer and the local NAACP.

There is still a police presence around the campus.

A meeting is set for 1:45 between parties involved to discuss demands.

Art Garrett, associate superintendent of Haywood County Schools, confirmed that there have been some school officials have been suspended in the course of the investigation, but he declined to name which ones.

Malik Green, a student who helped organize the protests, posted to Facebook Tuesday morning: "For everybody who said Protesting wouldn’t get nothing done. Look at what we accomplished!!"

There will be "no repercussions" against students who have been protested, Garrett said.

"We are not opposed to peaceful protest," he said.

As for the students walking out of classes, Garrett said, "We are having school ... Our staff is there, the buildings are safe."

Christian Byars, a Haywood High alumna, said she was not proud of why the protests happened but was proud of the students being peaceful.

"(They're) showing the parents how it should be done," she said.