PTSA members discussed implications of Mayes’ investigation


PTSA member helps facilitate a group. Photo by Phoebe Monsour.

Phoebe Monsour

Manual’s PTSA hosted a meeting to discuss members’ feelings about the district’s investigation of Principal Jerry Mayes.

The PTSA plans to use the opinions of those who attended the meeting, held in the senior cafeteria on November 28, to inform their actions on the issue and plans to discuss the implementation of these actions sometime in January.

Marian Vasser, the Director of Diversity Education and Inclusive Excellence at the University of Louisville, helped facilitate the meeting, which was only open to current paying PTSA members.

Attendees wrote anonymously on Post-it notes answers to three questions, which they discussed within a smaller group and later with the entire meeting.

Marian Vasser and another meeting facilitator help stimulate discussion in a group. Photo by Phoebe Monsour.

The questions were:

  • What are your current feelings about what is going on at Manual?
  • What do you think should happen and/or what action should be taken?
  • What role should the PTSA play?

Vasser said before the discussion that no attendee should quote another without explicit permission in order to promote an open discussion of the issue, but said general concerns of those who attended were that “people don’t know what’s going on; people are frustrated because central administration has not articulated the process.”

Vasser also advised those at the meeting to direct the focus of the discussion away from issues with specific individuals and, rather, focus on the broader situation.

Still, many who attended the meeting, such as Lilah Weiss (11, MST), had their own views on Mayes.

Weiss said, “I know a lot of people are pushing for the removal of Mr. Mayes and I don’t know how I feel about that. But I think there does needs to be reform. And I do think there needs to be a lot more communication and education amongst teachers, students and administration.”

Another student, Emily Slaven (10, HSU) said the meeting encouraged open communication.

“This was a really good idea to hear from everybody and hear what people’s concerns are because in all honesty I didn’t know people were so concerned with such different things,” Slaven said. “There were only a few students at this PTSA meeting, and I’m glad that I could be one of them.”

A PTSA member facilitates discussion of notes for her group. Photo by Phoebe Monsour.