New principal at Cleveland High School resigns hours before student walkout

Dr. Marni Campbell, who was set to be the next principal at Seattle’s Cleveland High School, resigned on Friday just hours before students planned a walkout in protest of the departure of their principal Catherine Brown. 

According to The Seattle Times, Brown’s attorney said she told families of a plan to scale back COVID-19 contact tracing in Seattle schools, which the district ordered her not to do. After an investigation, Seattle Public Schools officials decided to end Brown’s principal contract. She had been at Cleveland High School for 18 years. 

The district’s Superintendent Brent Jones announced that Campbell, a principal at Robert Eagle Staff Middle School, would replace Brown. 

Students, their families and teachers showed up at a school board meeting to express their concerns about the announcement, which drew outcry.  

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According to the Seattle Times, there was a sexual abuse lawsuit involving a computer teacher and student at a former school Campbell led. This resulted in a nearly $250,000 settlement involving Seattle Public Schools. 

On Friday morning, district officials told FOX 13 News that Campbell decided to withdraw from the principal role because "she did not want to be a distraction or hamper the future success of Cleveland students."

The district said Campbell will continue to serve the district in another capacity but it hasn’t been determined. 

"I have deep respect and love for the work that the Cleveland community has done for many years to create a beautiful, anti-racist, student-centered school community," she said. "It is because of my deep respect for our work that I make this decision."