SALINAS, Calif. - Dozens of parents, students and even some teachers are speaking loud and clear to a local school district. It's a story we've been covering closely as the Salinas City Elementary School District considers demoting one of its principals.
On Monday night, five board members voted three to two, deciding to demote Mission Park Elementary School Principal Brinet Greelee. Greenlee will be transferred to Loma Vista Elementary to teach 6th grade.
During a contentious school board meeting, many demand Greenlee stay in her position. Most parents at Monday night's meeting were in arms because they're tired of having their principal change, this would be the fifth change in four years. Yet there are some calling for change.
"If a principal for whatever reason, is not meeting the vision of the superintendent, it's very appropriate for the principal to do what all principals have done forever and that's to look for a job elsewhere," said a former Salinas City Elementary School District employee.
However, many said otherwise.
"If he had a mistake or he had a great day, he is heard by Ms. Greenlee and her staff," said a parent.
Parents and even former teachers say there's two sides to Greenlee's story. When the school board initially limited public comment at Monday's meeting, people were outraged.
"The thing about free speech is, it needs to be protected for everybody," said an outspoken opponent of Greenlee's transfer.
The board gave everyone a chance to speak in a meeting lasting more than six hours. So far the district has given Central Coast News varying reasons why Greenlee is being moved, citing issues with test scores and a lack of shared vision for the school.
Greenlee said in 22 years she's never been disciplined and the support for to stay is unreal.
"I mean I'm overwhelmed by the amount of support from our community. But it is because we are a community and we work together and we work for the kids," Greenlee said.
Greenlee's attorney said the district's decision is baseless, calling it retaliatory and discriminatory. Greenlee said her recent evaluation was good.
"I've committed 22 years to this district. I love my job. I love the children. I'm there to work for and with the children," Greenlee said.
Parents handed the district a petition with more than 450 signatures to keep Greenlee as principal.
Greenlee's attorney said if she is demoted, it's about a $40,000/year pay cut and she my take legal action against the district.