Haywood HS principal, assistant principal suspended during day 2 of student protest

UPDATE –Protesters and school leaders reportedly reached an agreement during a Tuesday afternoon meeting. See the updated story here.


BROWNSVILLE, Tenn. — Day two of protest continued Tuesday outside Haywood High School after racially charged messages appeared on Snapchat. The images circulated and became so widespread, students aren’t just demanding disciplinary actions be taken for the students but for the administration as well.

“I’ve been here from the beginning and I’m not leaving until it’s done,” parent Betty Shutes said.

“These babies just want to be heard,” parent Thelma Taylor said. “They want to go back to class, they want to learn and they want an education, but they want to be safe.”

“I just want them to publicly apologize or apologize to the school,” student organizer Malik Green said.

The Snapchat messages sent between four white students at Haywood High School ignited a protest, sparking nationwide attention.

On Monday, students walked out. Tuesday, the protest continued.

“I don’t want my kids, any of my kids, [to] get up and feel as if they cannot go to school,” Shutes said.

“I cried. I simply cried,” Taylor said. “I have a son and a daughter in the school.”

“The school’s written policy says if you commit a level four violation you should be suspended a minimum of 60 days up to 180 days,” Brownsville NAACP leader John Ashworth said.

“We don’t feel like it’s safe to go back inside the school unless we know what’s going on,” Green said.

Principal Dr. Jerry Pyron, left, and Assistant Principal Tim Seymour

Green says he knew the boys personally.

“I had class with them, and jokes are jokes but when you talk about killing someone, that’s serious,” Green said.

Just like the disappearing Snapchats, the friendship ended.

“I’m very proud of what you did yesterday and how you stood for what’s right,” Haywood School Superintendent Joey Hassell said to those protesting. He promised a full investigation.

“The racism the bigotry and the hatred, as I said in my statement, should not be allowed,” Hassell said.

He confirmed Principal Dr. Jerry Pyron and Assistant Principal Tim Seymour are both suspended pending the outcome of the investigation.

“We need to hear something about these boys so we can get all these kids back in Haywood High School so they can learn,” Shutes said to Superintendent Hassell.