HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- Wearing red shirts emblazoned with the hashtag #MIMSstrong, around 100 parents from the Mandarin Immersion Magnet School (MIMS) protested the sudden and what they believe was the forced resignation of the school's popular principal.
Chaolin Chang, the principal for MIMS for the past six years, is not returning to the school next year. HISD administrators have told parents it was his choice, but parents are not buying it.
"Rather than working with our school, with our teachers, and our parent community by a small group of parents, the HISD administrators, the school support officer, and regional superintendent put Mr. Chang in an untenable position: be demoted, fired, or quit," said Rabbi Steven Gross, a parent at the school.
Parents say HISD forced their principal to resign in February, then demanded he stay quiet until last week. When the announcement was made at school, it immediately caused an uproar.
"We collectively look like Houston," said Sandra Lozano, another parent. "What brings us together today is our desire for a rigorous, bilingual education."
The parents say they don't understand why HISD, constantly under threat to be taken over by the Texas Education Agency, is focused on making changes at a high-performing school. The TEA currently rates MIMS at 97 out of 100, one of the highest scores in the district.
Parents say their next plan is to speak out Thursday night at the meeting of the HISD school board. They are looking to ensure that the next principal for the Mandarin Immersion School will speak Mandarin.
"We want a transparent principal selection process for a Mandarin-speaking principal, we want our teachers to feel supported, not scared, and we will not be intimated into silence," said Pranika Sinha, who has a fifth grader at the school. "We hope HISD agrees with us and helps us move forward by ensuring our principal is bilingual, bicultural, and embraces our community."
HISD has maintained that principal Chang chose to leave, and would not comment on specific personnel issues. The Principal, who is still at the school, would not comment publicly.
Parents upset that principal of high-performing MIMS school is leaving