WAIANAE, OAHU (HawaiiNewsNow) - No long goodbyes at Waianae Intermediate School.
The longtime principal, Raechelle Fabrao, revealed to students and parents on Tuesday that she is being reassigned and will be starting her new position on Wednesday.
It leaves many people at the Leeward campus wondering what happened because there has been no explanation from the Department of Education.
Students around campus are devastated. They said Fabrao was a principal who cared about their needs. But school staffers have also said morale is at an all-time low and troublemakers are getting off with little or no punishment.
"When she would come into a class, she would give us treats and stuff," said eighth grader Aurelio Lopez.
"I had really messed up shoes and she called me to her office one day and she gave me some really nice shoes to wear," seventh grader Jewels Kay said.
Stunned students told us after school on Tuesday they are going to miss their principal. A letter was sent home saying she will be taking on a temporary assignment within the Waianae Complex effective Wednesday, December 9th. Hawaii News Now has been told it is an athletics position at Waianae High.
While it comes as a shock to many, the school has been struggling with fights, poor attendance and a high teacher turnover rate. School staffers complained that Fabrao fails to discipline delinquent students. Plus, they said about half a dozen teachers have quit this school year so far, in addition to two substitute teachers in one day.
However, State Senator Maile Shimabukuro says that's nothing new.
"It's not unusual for us to lose teachers on the Waianae Coast, that's a well-documented problem that has been plaguing us ever since I've been in office," Shimabukuro said.
"Getting out here is very difficult number one. Our classrooms aren't air conditioned, so it's extremely hot and uncomfortable," she said.
Fabrao has been at the school for more than 20 years and it's clear she has her share of supporters.
"That's the kind of real difficult situations that she had to face during her years there, and she took them on and wasn't afraid to tackle it head on," said Shimabukuro.
"Ms. Fabrao if you're watching this, I just wanted to let you know that I'm gonna miss you and thank you for everything you've done for me," Kay said.
The DOE released this statement to Hawaii News Now:
"It is the policy of the Department to not comment on personnel matters. Any changes in leadership at the school level will be announced by the school's administration at the appropriate time. Our students remain our highest priority and any changes are implemented with this in mind."