BURNS, Ore. (KOIN) — The principals of Burns High School, Hines Middle School and the Harney County School District superintendent submitted letters of resignation this week, as the standoff with an armed group continues at a local wildlife refuge.
In a letter dated January 9, Harney County School District #3 Superintendent Marilyn McBride declared her resignation effective June 30.
On January 11, Hines Middle School Principal Jerry Mayes submitted his resignation, citing family reasons.
“My heart leads me to the final conclusion that it’s time to spend and devote my energies to family, particularly my grandchildren while I still have the health and faculties to enjoy them during their emerging young formative years,” Mayes wrote.
The next day, Burns High School Principal Brandon Yant announced his resignation.
“First, I’m interested in pursuing an administrative position in a larger school so that I may be part of a building level administrative team,” Yant wrote. “Second, my mother has recently begun showing signs that she needs assistance. I am the only one close enough to support her and I need to live closer.”
It is unclear if the standoff at Malheur National Wildlife Refuge was a factor in their decisions.
On Wednesday, the county fire chief — a sympathizer of the armed group — resigned over the county’s refusal to host the meeting.
Chris Briels, a member of the Harney County Committee of Safety, announced his resignation surrounded by the cheering anti-government activists. The safety committee, which had previously asked the armed men to leave town, has now offered to take on the cause of the occupiers after they depart. That cause includes turning control of federal land over to local ranchers.
Briels, who said he does not condone violence but agrees with the armed men’s mission, has been fire chief in the community for over 20 years. He said he resigned because he feels intimidated and betrayed by local officials.
The Associated Press contributed to this report