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Prince George's replaces High Point High principal after attack is shown on YouTube

By Robert Samuels
Washington Post Staff Writer
Tuesday, March 8, 2011; 8:14 PM

Prince George's County school officials replaced the principal of High Point High School in Beltsville on Tuesday, days after a video of one of his students being attacked surfaced on the Internet.

Principal Michael Brooks wrote in an e-mail that he was "taking another position" in the school system and was not "removed" from the high school. School system officials said an assistant principal, Rebecca Garcia, will lead the school until they name Brooks's successor.

"We will be looking for someone who can reach out and engage parents, has experience in addressing the issues at hand, and who will best serve the diverse student population at High Point High School,'' Superintendent William R. Hite Jr. wrote in a letter to parents Tuesday.

Hite added in a telephone interview: "It was time to go in a different direction." Hite would not elaborate.

During the past year, some parents and students had complained that Brooks wasn't doing enough to stop fighting and truancy at the school.

The video, posted anonymously on YouTube, got more than 2,700 hits before it was removed Monday morning.

Marcus Smallwood, head of the school's parent-teacher association, said frustrated students began making videos of hall brawls to show them to their parents. Smallwood called the personnel switch "the correct step to rectify the school's problems with security.''

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