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CCHS students return to school without classmate, key leadership on leave

LAVINE, Arizona — Monday was an emotional first day at Cesar Chavez High School. Students and staff returned to class without classmate Christopher Hampton.

A 15-year-old boy drowned last month after a football camp in Shaw Low.

“Of course it was bittersweet that he had to get up and go,” Crystal Sosa said. “Today is the first day of his senior year.”

Sosa’s son is one of more than 2,700 students who turned up for the first day of classes at CCHS on Monday.

Her son was a 15-year-old Hampton and wrestling teammate.

“I could see that he was a little uneasy that the principal wasn’t there,” Sosa said.

The new school year began with an investigation underway and key school leaders still on administrative leave.

“We have lost so much that I think the hardest part now is doing what is best for our children,” Sosa said.

Following Hampton’s tragic death at Shaw Low Lake, principal Robert Grant and the school’s athletic director were both on leave.

“They really want to do it for Chris,” Sosa said of the football team. “They want to put on their helmets and pads and do it for Chris.”

The players on the field have started preparing for their first game on August 25, but all the coaches who took part in that football trip are also on vacation.

The list also includes head coaches.

During the July meeting, William ‘Ducie’ Burwell Jr. was announced as the nominee for head varsity football coach at the school.

ABC15 contacted the Phoenix Union High School District about the investigation on Monday, but was told there was “no update on the investigation or the status of students currently on leave.”

“He’s a pillar of our community,” Sosa said at a recent PXU board meeting. “He is the pillar of the school.”

Parents attend a rally demanding the return of Principal Grant.

CCHS Parent Nicky Black said, “Today, I hope that everyone listens to the voices of their communities and restores stability to Cesar Chavez High School.”

Sosa also launched a petition, which now has hundreds of signatures.

“I was disappointed because everything was done so tightly there,” Sosa said after the meeting. “Unable to get the latest information.”

Parents are now hoping for answers about what will happen at the school and are awaiting details on the results of the Navajo County Sheriff’s investigation into Hampton’s death.

Days after the boy died, the family told ABC15 they wanted answers.

“If this was your son, wouldn’t you like to know what happened?” Ms Hampton’s sister, Lanisha Smith, said. “If this were your family, wouldn’t you like to know?”

ABC15 also reached out to the sheriff’s office on Monday for an update, but officials said they had nothing new to announce.

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