Students, parents and teachers at School Without Walls High School and the School Without Walls at Francis Stevens held a rally Thursday morning after the longtime principal abruptly left.
Richard Trogisch led both public schools in the West End area for years and was suddenly let go on Wednesday. Members of the school community said they believe he was dismissed after he opposed plans to reopen the school sites next month as the coronavirus pandemic continues.
With many people wearing face masks, the group chanted “Bring Trogisch back.”
D.C. Public Schools did not immediately comment and then said Monday afternoon that there had been a “school enrollment anomaly” at School Without Walls and that Trogisch’s departure was not related to reopening.
“Adherence to the District’s policy and procedures on school enrollment is critical. Due to this being a personnel matter, there are things we will not be able to fully address,” DCPS said in a statement. “Mr. Trogisch’s departure is unrelated to any issues associated with school reopening, health or safety.”
Trogisch could not immediately be reached to respond to the statement.
Parents, students and teachers gathered for scheduled morning meetings with Instructional Superintendent Jerry Jellig for more information about the change in leadership. The meeting didn't happen. Members of the school community came face-to-face with Jellig as he was behind the wheel of his SUV.
D.C. police were called to intervene. Officers ushered Jellig away from demonstrators after he and those who gathered failed to agree to terms on how they would meet.
A virtual meeting is scheduled for this evening.
Stay with NBC Washington for more details on this developing story.