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High school principal put on leave after attending sit-in with students

By WCCO Staff

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    MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — The principal of Minneapolis North High School, Mauri Friestleben, is being placed on leave for the remainder of the school year, according to district officials. And a letter she shared with the families of students, she said that Friday would be her “last day with Minneapolis Public Schools.”

This comes after Friestleben attended a sit-in with students in the wake of the Amir Locke shooting, which she says she did even though she had been “strongly advised to not attend.”

She says her decision to attend came after she encouraged students to plan their own actions.

“I gave them examples of historical civil disobedience (like sit-ins) and pledged to join them,” she said. “I bear no ill will towards MPS whatsoever … I will not hold anyone other than myself accountable for this outcome and ask others to do the same.”

The district said that Dr. Michael V. Walker, founding leader of the Office of Black Student Achievement, would serve as the school’s head.

“MPS is confident that North will have a strong finish to this school year under Dr. Walker’s leadership and the continuing leadership of Assistant Principal Steve White,” the district said.

In a statement, MPS said that though the community has many questions, they “cannot publicly answer many of them.”

“We can share that Ms. Friestleben’s employment was not terminated. If Principal Friestleben chooses to end her employment with MPS, her decision will be respected and her leadership will be missed. MPS will do everything it can to support the North community as we move through the end of the school year,” the statement says.

Friestleben will be placed on leave beginning Monday, May 23.

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