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CLEBURNE (CBSDFW.COM) – Student protests at Cleburne High School Wednesday afternoon, over the departure of several staff members, ended with an evacuation and a teen’s arrest.
Cell videos show the chaotic scene, as students chanted for the district to fire their principal. Police arrested one student for pulling the fire alarm, prompting an evacuation.
“That kind of got out of hand with the fire alarm,” said Nelsy Barragan.
Barragan started a petition upset over the disappearance of her drama teacher, Lisa Wright. She collected 160 signatures. Barragan said Wright hasn’t been at school since Monday and hasn’t had her contract with the district renewed.
“She’s impacted everyone’s lives drastically,” said Barragan.
Another petition calling for the reinstatement of a well-liked English teacher, Stephanie Sisco, has almost 600 signatures. It claims she was “forced to resign” over a difference of opinion with the principal. The departures follow the resignation of head football coach Jeff Merket, who resigned citing a “hostile work environment.”
“We want those teachers to have their jobs back because they don’t deserve to lose their jobs like they did. Because they’re good teachers,” said Rukh Doughty.
The district Wednesday did not respond to questions about the protest or the teachers. In a press release about the student’s arrest, it provided a statement from Principal LeAnn Downs:
“I am most proud of our student body, in their quick and orderly evacuation of the building… Our students modeled our school’s integrity creed in doing what is right, not what is easy’.”
Several students, though, said some participants took the protest too far.
“Throwing like paper, water bottles, pencils… at the principal,” said Doughty.
His mother doesn’t approve of that behavior, but said she understands why students are speaking out. “They want their voices out there. They want their opinions to matter,” said Nelda Macias.
An attorney for Lisa Wright declined comment, but Wright’s husband told CBS11 her future at the school remains “undecided.”
Efforts to reach Merket and Sisco were unsuccessful.