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Teachers, Students Protest Administrative Reassignment At Marjory Stoneman Douglas; Lawsuit Planned

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MIAMI (CBSMiami/AP) - At around 10:40 a.m., Tuesday, hundreds of students left their classrooms and walked out the building and down the street. Some yelled "bring them back" as they walked.

"It's not right to just take away four people who have been at this school— four people who we love and trust," says Dara Rosen, a junior.

Spencer Blum, a senior, also disagreed with the decision, saying it was "putting a band-aid on the problem."

"Although there were faults that happened on the side of the administration, if there are going to be heads that roll, they need to hold the county accountable," he says.

Marjory Stoneman Douglas High Student Walkout
Students at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland take part in a school walkout to protest the reassignments of four school administrators in the wake of the school shooting. (CBS4)

Some parents, however, came out to the school with the opposite reaction. They were in full support of the District's decision, and fully against the actions of the teachers and students protesting.

"To protest doesn't make sense to me when there's accountability for their actions at the school," says Andrew Pollack, whose daughter, Meadow, was killed in the mass shooting.

He says the teachers were being "very poor role models" for students.

"What did they think? 17 people are going to die and this is going to be swept under the rug?"

He goes on to say: "If your kids at Douglas are walking out for people being held accountable, it's not the right thing to do."

Tuesday morning, dozens of teachers from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School gathered outside the gates in protest to the removal of four school leaders.

Wearing "MSD Strong" shirts, about one-third of the teachers stood in a line and chanted "It's not fair!"

Three Assistant Principals—Jeff Morford, Winfred Porter, and Denise Reed— along with Security Specialist Kelvin Greenleaf, were put on administrative duty as of Tuesday morning.

The decision came after the Broward School District received information from the Marjory Stoneman Douglas Safety Commission.

Some teachers held signs that read things like:

"They removed the glue holding us together. Now, we may just fall apart."

"I understand people want change and want people to be responsible for things that happened," says teacher Sarah Lerner. "But pulling them away from school is not the right way to do it with this ongoing investigation."

The MSD Public Safety commission cited a number of issues including a delayed code red call, unlocked and unguarded gates, as well as alleged complaints made to the school administrators about Nicolas Cruz's behavior that went dismissed.

The teachers who showed solidarity say there needs to be a change, but do not believe removing school leaders from their position was the right move.

"They understand what we went through, they helped to keep kids safe, they should be here with us," said Lerner. "Now we're going to be getting 3 new administrators who don't know us, who don't understand what we went through.

"There are too many moving pieces to have these new people come in, and it's not helping our healing process as a faculty," Lerner added.

It's a sentiment that was also felt by some students.

"Instead of putting blame on people who were actually trying to help us let's try to bring them back so they can continue to help us through this experience," said 11th grade student Zareyah Simpson.

History teacher, Greg Pittman, says the administrators cannot be blamed for what happened, adding that no one in the county has had to go through a situation like they did before.

"If we were to go through that situation again, I would want those people to be here because they know what mistakes were made," he says, referring to the administrators. "They, better than anyone, would know what to correct and what needs to be done going forward."

The head of an association representing principals and assistant principals in Florida says four Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School administrators who were reassigned more than nine months after 17 people were killed are being made into scapegoats.

Lisa Maxwell, who heads the Broward Principals and Assistants Association, said Tuesday that her office is preparing to sue the school district to stop the reassignment of the three assistant principals.

A security specialist also was transferred.

(© Copyright 2018 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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