HISD investigating staffers after Madison High School students walk out

Houston ISD temporarily reassigned several employees Thursday, but students reportedly plan to walk out again Friday morning.

Miya Shay Image
Friday, November 19, 2021
HISD investigating staffers after Madison HS students walk out
HISD says it's investigating staffers after a viral audio recording sparked concern among students, but sources say students are planning to walk out again.

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- The controversy is not over at Madison High School in southwest Houston after hundreds of students walked out Thursday.

ABC13 has learned that students at the Houston ISD school plan to walk out for a second morning in a row Friday.

HISD has temporarily reassigned several employees, but some students say it's not enough.

It was a slightly chaotic scene Thursday morning as about 10% of the student population, or roughly 200 students, walked out of class.

Allegations of inappropriate comments by some staffers stem from a viral audio recording that made its way through the student population.

SkyEye was above the crowd of students outside the school.

FROM SKYEYE: Watch high school walkout unfold in southwest Houston

A large crowd of students grew outside James Madison High School on Thursday. The demonstration may be in protest of school leadership.

The students mainly stuck to the front of the building. Some held signs, and others just gathered together. Multiple police cruisers were also seen around the area of the school.

The students said they grew concerned after hearing an alleged audio recording of staffers' conversations with each other, allegedly speaking in a derogatory manner toward students, that circulated widely on social media over the past two days. The audio has not been independently verified by ABC13, so we are not sharing it in this report, but students say they found it to be believable.

"Everyone saw the Facebook posts," said student Armett Alonzo. "Right now, we're out here protesting, to go against the stuff the females have been facing at Madison High School."

Some students say the protest felt empowering, even if they were among the vast majority who did not walk out.

"By going to school, we shouldn't be scared that we're going to have somebody looking at us in an inappropriate way, and we shouldn't be feared that we're going to be touched by a man who is supposed to set an example for us," one student said.

HISD released the following statement, confirming that several staffers were moved following an initial review of the audio recording:

"The Houston Independent School District has reviewed the recording that is circulating on social media. HISD is investigating this incident and has temporarily reassigned the employees pending the outcome of the investigation. We take all allegations of misconduct seriously and will take appropriate action to ensure all of our students have access to a safe learning environment."

HISD did not say which department the employees work in, or how long the reassignment will last. Eyewitness News is working to confirm the identities of those reassigned.

This doesn't appear to be the first time that students have walked out at Madison High.

Back in 2019, Eyewitness News reported on a demonstration involving about 200 students who protested in response to an alleged incident on campus.

FROM 2019: Madison HS students walk out in protest over incident involving teen

About 200 students at Madison High School walked out of class Thursday morning in protest.

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