Students, parents rally around demoted principal


Armond Hankins has been principal at Orange High School for two years now, but he's being demoted to assistant principal.

More than 100 people have signed an online petition asking that Hankins be kept as principal.

Many students are upset. Some parents said they think the decision to demote Hankins was made because he's African-American.

"There was a lot of gangs, suspension rate was very high, teacher morale was very low," said parent Phyllis Mack-Horton.

But under Hankins, student performance has improved. Those angered by Hankins' demotion think race played a factor.

"I do think it's racist," said parent Anna Kenion. "Every time somebody becomes a principal, an African-American principal, their contract is not renewed and there's no reason why."

Orange County School Board released a statement to ABC11 regarding Hankins' job change, "The school system has a uniform and fair process for evaluating principals ... Mr. Hankins' race had absolutely nothing to do with the decision."

The district insists it's striving for diversity.

According the district, 16 percent of Orange County students are black but 38 percent of administrators and 21 percent of teachers, teaching assistants, instructional staff, and classified staff are African-American.

However, the principal at the center of the firestorm will soon no longer be one of them.

Hankins told ABC11 Wednesday, "I do not plan to accept the assistant principal position. I do not feel a demotion was in order."

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