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FRISCO (CBSDFW.COM) – Despite being asked, over school loud speaker, by Frisco Independent School District Superintendent Dr. Jeremy Lyon not to, hundreds of students from Frisco High School left their classrooms and took to the streets Tuesday.
The youngsters planned and executed the walkout as a rally for school principal Sylvia Palacios, who students say was demoted for standing up for their school.
Carrying banners saying “Save Sylvia” students left the high school just before 12:30 p.m. and headed toward the school district administration building — some two miles away. Having been warned about the possible protest, members of the Frisco Police Department escorted the students and stopped traffic at intersections so they could cross safely.
The students showed off what they’ve learned in civics class with the well-orchestrated show of civil disobedience. Student Emily Lohec said, “I really think she [Palacios] needs to stay here. This is a serious issue, that’s why we’re all walking.” As the moment to march approached the Frisco H.S. sophomore said excitedly, “This is it! This is it! This is happening. She deserves to keep her job!”
A letter was sent to parents earlier this week announcing Palacios’ reassignment. Superintendent Jeremy Lyon said it was his decision for the principal to take a new assignment within the district at the end of the school year. But some members of the faculty and student body believe the change is being made because several incidents in which parents demanded that teachers be disciplined and Principal Palacios refused.
After seven years as principal and 12 years on the Frisco H.S. campus, Palacios is being moved to the district’s alternative school. Senior James Hwang said what many of the young protesters were feeling. “We see the heart and soul she puts into our school and having her sent to another school away from Frisco High School, where she has been for the last 12 years, is completely unjustified to us.”
One day before the march teacher Mary Autrey said, “We learned more of the truth of why this was happening, because of her not letting a parent bully her into making the decision that they wanted for their one student.”
The students gathered to leave the school and begin their march when the bell signaling the end of second period rung — some 35 minutes later they gathered around the U.S., State of Texas, and Frisco ISD flags at the school administration building, in the 5000 block of Ohio Drive. As they stood at the building students chanted “Sylvia”, “you can’t hear us”, and “we want answers.”
One student, holding a sign that said ‘Save Sylvia,’ said, “I think that it’s unfair that our principal’s getting fired for doing the right thing. And I think she deserves to stay, because this is the original Frisco High School and she’s part of the school.”
Even students from other schools left their campuses and took part in the rally in support of Palacios. Some parents, like Dawn Ladny, joined the protest as well. Ladny, like so many who marched, is convinced Palacios is being punished for refusing to extend preferential treatment to the children of the community’s most powerful. “We have some kids in Frisco who think they are entitled and their parents are bullying her to get their kids what they want and it’s not right,” she said.
No members of the administration came out to address students. After some 45 minutes of chanting and cheering for Principal Palacios the students, again with a police escort, headed back to the high school. Before leaving the teenagers also said they were planning to come together and show their support for Palacios at the next school board meeting.
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