Roughly 100-150 students protested outside of Belton High School Friday morning after Belton ISD said Assistant Football Coach Al Maxwell was placed on paid administrative leave on Nov. 9.
Belton ISD Spokesperson Elizabeth Cox said Coach Maxwell's employment was a personnel matter, so the district would not comment further.
Several Belton ISD students and parents claimed Coach Maxwell had been fired, though -- when asked -- the district again characterized his employment status as "on administrative leave."
Upset students organized Friday's protest through social media. Students gathered outside the high school described him as a beloved coach. Protesters held signs and chanted their support for Coach Maxwell.
Although the district did not describe what Coach Maxwell was on leave for, Ms. Cox specifically confirmed that he did not have any inappropriate relationships with students.
A GoFundMe page was posted in support of Coach Maxwell. And, the hashtag #MaxwellStrong was being used on social media platforms. Several student athletes changed their Twitter profile pictures to photos of him.
Maxwell has coached for several years in Belton, with previous stops in Temple, Rosebud-Lott and Lockhart, according to his online bio. He is a 2000 graduate of Belton High School, who was named two time All-District, District MVP, Super Cen-Tex MVP and All State Football player during his time there, his bio said.
As for the students who skipped class to protest, the district said it was handling those issues internally.
"Our expectation is that students are in class for instruction and learning. The vast majority of students have been in class and the campus is calm and orderly. Campus administrators will handle individual student attendance issues for the students who weren’t in class," Deputy Belton ISD Superintendent Dr. Robert Muller said.
He's not just a coach hired for BISD. He is honored through belton as their very own athlete!! He has walked the halls and played on the field just as the boys that fight for him!!! #MaxwellStrong pic.twitter.com/qEoJL4GnX7— Holly Hussey (@HHussey) November 13, 2017