Haywood County school administrators reassigned after social media incident

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Students at Haywood High School in Brownsville protest outside the school Monday after some students say they were the target of racist threats from other students. (Mike Suriani)

BROWNSVILLE, Tenn. — The principal and vice principal of Haywood High School have been reassigned after an investigation into the school’s response to threatening social media messages sent by members of the baseball team.

The messages, which reference “stringing up” black students and use derogatory terms for African Americans, sparked a peaceful protest and walkout among many students last week after they said the students had only been assigned to write a 10-page paper as punishment.

That protest gained national media attention.

Haywood County Schools began an investigation into the school’s response to the messages. The school’s principal and vice principal were suspended during the investigation.

Tuesday, Superintendent Joey Hassell confirmed in a release that the two had been reassigned effective immediately, though he did not specify where they would be working.

“Hatred, racism, and bigotry have no place in our school district,” Hassell said.

Chief Academic Officer Yvette Blue and Chief Special Services Officer Chris Davis will remain at Haywood High School until the superintendent’s office recruits and hires a principal and an assistant principal, the district said.

Students involved in the social media incident, which violated school and district policies, have been disciplined, Hassell said, though he could not elaborate on what that discipline involved.

Haywood County Schools building administrators will train staff and students annually on recognizing discrimination and harassment. Staff will participate in sensitivity training and the district will adopt a curriculum dealing with acceptance and tolerance, the district said.


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