By Kiet Do

FREMONT (KPIX 5) — At the California School for the Deaf in Fremont, the big lesson of the day was civil disobedience.

About 50 high school students walked out of class briefly, and under the watchful eye of the staff, and a dozen parents, they protested dramatic changes at the school.

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Using a messaging app, the students said, “we want Dr. Virnig to leave.”

Dr. Sean Virnig was the school’s Superintendent.

Students, parents and teachers say for the past five years he cut popular programs, ignored complaints, and ran one of the premier schools in the country with fear, intimidation, and retaliation.

“We come here for a great, world class education. We don’t feel like we’re getting what we need, so we need him to leave so we can focus on what we deserve,” Student Brandon Duran said.

After weeks of complaints to the California Department of Education, Virnig was removed Monday morning, and temporarily reassigned to work at headquarters in Sacramento until further notice.

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“He is clearly not a fit for this school. He has a lot of potential but he is not fit for running this school,” Elvis Zornoza, President of the Association of Families, Teachers, and Counselors said.

The state has appointed Scott Kerby as the acting superintendent.

Still, for the families and faculty, it’s not good enough. They want assurances that Virnig is gone for good.

The deaf community also says dealing with the Department of Education is often a struggle.

“I think the state does not understand what the best practices of deaf education are, they’re not listening to the educators of the school for the deaf,” Julie Rems-Smario with the California Association for the Deaf said.

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The state gave KPIX 5 the same letter they gave parents, saying State Superintendent Tom Torlakson has been meeting with all the stakeholders, and has been ‘conducting a thorough fact-finding process, and exploring ways to enhance communications and outcomes for our students.”