The union alleges the principal was fired because he was against the reopening plan.
WASHINGTON — A popular D.C. principal of one of the District’s highest performing schools was fired just one month before schools are set to reopen for in-person instruction. The union representing principals claims longtime School Without Walls principal Richard Trogisch was let go because he was against the school system’s reopen plan.
The news hit hard as parents and teachers grapple with returning to classrooms.
“Why now?” Richard Jackson, president of the Council of School Officers, asked. “He’s one of the few principles who’s willing to ask hard questions of upper leadership.”
Jackson believed Trogisch’s dismissal was retaliation because he questioned his school’s safety. A spokesperson from DCPS said they do not comment on personnel issues, but issued a statement thanking the principal for his service. Trogisch’s staff questions the timing.
“It’s definitely like a gut punch,” third-grade School Without Walls at Francis Gregory teacher Micah Seigel said. “We just don’t know what’s up next. The one thing that was consistent was the leadership.”
Many teachers and parents expressed growing concerns in DCPS’ plan to bring back elementary school students Nov. 9.
“I would love to go back in person when it’s safe,” John E. Eaton, a Sammy Magnuson teacher, said. “Unfortunately, the way that decisions are being made by DCPS right now is contributing to a greater sense of instability.”
DCPS’ plan focuses on returning 21,000 of the school systems’ children who are most in need.
“I like that their focus is on equity,” DCPS parent Becky Reina said. “But I don’t think that this plan will actually result in much equity, because it’s such a small percentage of children.”
DCPS laid out its timeline for school improvements including classroom setup, signage, PPE, HVAC upgrades and more. Chancellor Lewis Ferebee said all 80 elementary schools will be ready and safe for students and staff. But many parents said the plan still lacks specifics that would help them feel safe.
“My son was just diagnosed with asthma and I have been affected by the coronavirus personally in my family,” DCPS parent Latasha Scott said. “I’ve seen its effects and it terrified me and I cannot risk it. I cannot do it.”
Scott said kids will be kids and she doubts they will be able to stick to social distancing and safety protocol because “they will be back in the building and will be so excited to see their friends.”
“I really wanted to send my son back, because I want him to be…