Black Student Union holds sit-in

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Update on Nov. 15, 2017:

“We’re proud of our students exercising their freedom of speech and standing up for things they believe in,” Assistant Principal Mr. Greg Kuhn said.

Original story:

Before school on Nov. 14, the Black Student Union (BSU) staged a sit-in to raise awareness for accountability and the immediate removal of Principal Mr. Jerry Mayes after recent controversy.

BSU President Quintez Brown (12, HSU), BSU Vice President Kyra Welch (11, HSU) and Gay/Straight/Transgender Alliance (GSTA) co-President Aris Spagnuolo (12, HSU) gave speeches to students who congregated on the center hall staircase.

Students gathered in center hall to hear speeches from BSU and GSTA representatives. Photo by Savanna Vest.

The three student representatives said that they met to discuss intersectionality and agreed that the purpose of the sit-in was to raise awareness for student voice.

“Mr. Mayes is in a position of power over a diverse group of individuals, so it is absolutely essential to provide a safe and secure environment in which no student feels threatened or feels lesser in any way,” Spagnuolo said.

BSU members said that Mayes should take accountability for his actions and that otherwise he should face termination from his position.

“We value Mr. Mayes’ service to our school and harbor no hatred towards him, but he must be held accountable,” Brown said.

BSU officers led chants saying, “We should feel safe” and “Hold him accountable.”

Many students, some of whom take part in various social activism clubs, were there to support the BSU and GSTA.

“After I learned about what Mr. Mayes said, I had a really hard time identifying with myself being in GSTA and being black,” Casey Marzette (10, HSU) said.

Participants of the sit-in also said in chants, “Ain’t no power like the power of the people because the power of the people don’t stop.”

The students said that they believe it is their responsibility to call for appropriate action.

“The students are responding, and we’re going to keep responding until something is done about [the situation],” Dorothy Addie (10, YPAS) said.

BSU members planned for the conclusion of the sit-in to take place five minutes after the tardy bell rang. Students who participated in the sit-in all filed to the attendance office at the same time to receive tardy slips to class. According to a statement Mr. Mayes released earlier today, 117 students received tardy slips.

Assistant Principal Mr. Craig Klingenfus said that the administration will not comment directly on the sit-in. Administration released the following email to parents and faculty:

Using the OneCall notification system, parents and faculty were informed that students “conducted themselves appropriately” and had “returned to class without any problems.”

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