HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Last week eight Kalaheo High football players came down with staph-like infections. Now a petition at Change.org is calling for principal Susan Hummel to resign. It claims she endangered the health of students by failing to ensure safety measures were followed in the school's weight room.
Hummel said the allegations are untrue.
"Unfortunately, I think this particular petition has distracted from all of the positive and huge strides towards positive education and successful education that Kalaheo has accomplished in the last few years," she said.
"There's a lot of really terrible things that people say and do when they don't have to be accountable for the words that they use," retired principal Catherine Payne said.
The online petition against Hummel is just the latest attempt to oust a public school principal. In May, Honokaa High's Marcella McClellan was placed on non-disciplinary department directed leave amidst allegations of mismanagement. Then this month, the DOE reassigned Lahainaluna High School principal Emily De Costa after complaints from parents. And Hanalei Elementary School principal Lisa McDonald was also re-assigned after calls for her resignation from parents and teachers.
"The authority of the principal to be the one who makes those last calls and makes those decisions and puts items to rest has been undermined," former Kaiser High School principal John Sosa said.
Kapaa Middle School principal Nathan Aiwohi is another principal being targeted by a petition drive. Payne said social media attacks on principals are counter-productive.
"Sometimes when that happens then it really takes a long time to get to the bottom of the situation because investigations get muddied by all of the rumors and the misinformation," she said.
In a statement, the DOE voiced support for principals but added "warranted complaints are seriously reviewed and investigated."
Hummel wants to meet the people behind the petition against her.
"But if they'd like to meet with me face to face, go over the charges and then allow me to answer them -- and perhaps they can explain more about what their concerns are -- I would be more than happy to meet with them," she said.
The Hawaii Government Employees Association released the following statement: