BREAKING: Haywood Co. Schools reportedly meets requests of protesters

BROWNSVILLE, Tenn. — Protest organizers tell WBBJ 7 Eyewitness News that their objectives and requests have been met after a Tuesday afternoon meeting with leaders of Haywood County Schools amid student protests regarding racist and threatening messages allegedly written by students at the school.

The organizers said they are pleased with the outcome of the protest and that the following requests have been met:

1. Administration handled properly (Principal Jerry Pyron and Assistant Principal Tim Seymour have been suspended without pay pending the outcome of the investigation.)

2. No retaliation for students protesting (The teachers and school will not punish students who participated in the protest.)

3. Superintendent Joey Hassell assured parents and students that the students behind the messages will be punished. School leaders can’t discuss student punishment but say they will face appropriate consequences.

Associate Superintendent and Chief Academic Officer Yvette Blue is reportedly the acting principal during the investigation.

Students also reportedly returned to class Tuesday afternoon and are expected to resume normal class attendance Wednesday.

The school also issued the following statement regarding the outcome of the Tuesday afternoon meeting, outlining their next steps in resolving the issue:

Haywood County Schools’ district leadership met with the Haywood County Branch of the NAACP as well as parent and student representatives earlier today. The meeting was held to outline next steps.

Next steps include:

• A full investigation of this incident and a written report at its conclusion.
o Presently, district office is completing an in-depth and complete investigation. The
investigation is inclusive of the following board policies:
§ 6.304 Student Discrimination, Harassment, Bullying, Cyber-bullying and
Intimidation
§ 6.305 Student Concerns, Complaints, and Grievances
§ 6.309 Zero Tolerance Offenses (Electronic Threats)
§ 6.313 Discipline Procedures
o Once the investigation is complete, Haywood County Schools will release a report of the results. Haywood County Schools will release allowable information under federal and state law.

• The 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.
o The district office is currently completing an in-depth and complete investigation regarding this incident that ensures that board policy 6.302 Procedural Due Process is followed.
o Once the investigation is complete, decisions will be made in alignment with board policies:
§ 6.309 Zero Tolerance Offenses (Electronic Threats)
§ 6.313 Discipline Procedures
o As previously referenced, Haywood County Schools cannot legally comment on any individual students.

• A full investigation of the administration/staff involved in this incident (e.g., timeliness of the reporting of the incident and the procedures that were taken).
o The Haywood High School principal and an assistant principal have been suspended without pay pending the outcome of the investigation.
o The district office is currently working to determine the timeline, conversations, and decisions made in reference to this incident. Interviews will be completed with all necessary Haywood High School personnel.

As previously stated, hatred, racism, and bigotry have no place in our school district.

District administration, Haywood County’s NAACP, and parent and student representatives are
committed to working together to provide peace and civility for the citizens and especially our
children that reside in Haywood County.

The priority of Haywood County Schools is the education of all students; therefore, school will be in
regular session tomorrow. Accordingly, the board encourages families to help ensure student
presence in class.

Stay with WBBJ 7 Eyewitness News for continuing coverage.