COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (KRDO) - Students and parents gathered outside the Academy School District 20 administration building to protest after Pine Creek High School Principal Tracie Cormaney was placed on administrative leave.
The students and parents voiced confusion and frustration that District 20 leadership hasn't explained why Pine Creek High School Principal Tracie Cormaney was placed on leave.
"You notice she's gone and you wonder if she's sick or whatnot or what's going on," said Pine Creek High School senior Carson Caplan. "And then when you hear about all this, it's just kind of shocking."
Circling in a parking lot with signs, students chanted "We don't trust you," "Bring back Cormaney," and "Free C Money," referencing a nickname they have for their principal.
"It's really hard for us because, you know, we all love our principal Mrs. Cormaney. She's amazing, there's no words to describe her," said High School junior Cameron Cooper. "You know, whenever you're down, you go in her office and talk to her and she makes you feel at home. She's just very loving and compassionate."
The high school students and parents said rumors are swirling throughout the district surrounding Cormaney's administrative leave, and both groups believe they deserve an explanation.
Friday, around a third of Pine Creek High School staff called out of school and many teachers participated in a walkout.
During the walkout, Principal Cormaney's administrative assistant told KRDO13 she believed the principal was placed on leave because of a teacher incentive program.
That assistant, Pam Krzeczowski, said for years, Cormaney would give prizes to teachers for participating in different games, something Krzeczowski said boosted morale and helped retain teachers.
According to Krzeczowski, the school followed "all financial procedures, laws, and policies."
At this time, District 20 will not provide a reason for Cormaney being placed on administrative leave.
In a statement, Superintendent Jinger Haberer said the district is conducting a "thorough investigation" into the matter, but personnel matters are confidential.
Haberer said there is no "estimated timeline for the completion of this situation," and five administrators will be on-site at Pine Creek High School during Cormaney's absence.