Greasewood School under lockdown after parent riot
By Cindy Yurth
ASH FORK, Ariz., April 12, 2013
Greasewood Community School in Greasewood Springs, Ariz., was still under lockdown as of 1p.m. Friday after a 10:30 a.m.school board meeting reportedly escalated into a yelling match between two groups of parents and police were called.
One parent was reportedly arrested but that could not be immediately confirmed by police.
"School is supposed to be out now and parents are coming for their children," said Daryl Rockbridge, husband of Principal Jeannie Lewis. "I don't know what's going to happen."
Rockbridge said the meeting degenerated after Lewis "without naming names" urged parents not to pull their children out of school during AIMS testing week in response to a protest by a group of parents who are unhappy with the school board.
An anonymous caller, however, said Lewis had "falsely accused" parent Genevieve Yelloweyes of organizing the protest.
The witnesses agreed things degenerated from there, with Yelloweyes loudly accusing Lewis of propagating "hearsay" and making her way toward the board members, who were escorted by police to a separate room while they tried to regain order.
"It turned into a yelling match between two sets of parents," Lewis reported, causing a Navajo Nation police officer and Apache County Sheriff's deputy who had also responded to declare the school under lockdown.
Both Rockbridge and another caller said four parents were escorted from the building, but congregated at the entrance of the school until police appeared to place one under arrest.
Yelloweyes and two other parents had appeared at a previous school board meeting to protest what they said were financial abuses by the board, and one of their faction being told she was not welcome at the school during school hours.
Tension between the parents and Lewis escalated last week when Kimberly Gee, a teacher who allegedly sympathized with the parent group's concerns, reportedly refused to sign a letter reminding school royalty to wear their traditional outfits and got into a yelling match with Lewis.
Police were called in that instance as well to escort Gee from the building, during which, according to Rockbridge, she became violent and had to be subdued with a tazer.
Yelloweyes said police were unnecessarily harsh with Gee and caused her to suffer bruises.
Gee is on suspension and the matter has been turned over to Navajo Nation Criminal Investigation, according to Rockbridge.