Posted: May 21, 2013 8:46 AM by Brin Merkley - MTN News
ST. REGIS - Several St. Regis High School students walked out of class on Monday to stage a sit-in that's aimed at saving the jobs of some teachers in the small school district.
The students say they want answers after four teachers lost their jobs in the middle of the day, leaving classrooms empty.
The students who organized the sit-in say the confusion began 10 days ago when two highly respected teachers were issued non-renewals and two others were placed on administrative leave.
"It was chaos, kids were crying everywhere. So then Monday at the open forum...the open forum lasts for probably like an hour-and-a-half, and you know community members are angry," student Jeron Jennings said.
"Kids are crying, I mean it was very strange, and it was unlike anything I've ever seen before," he added.
Jennings says the community was outraged and wanted to know why teachers lost their jobs. The students say they just want their teachers back.
But, St. Regis School Superintendent Janet Hanson says she can't talk about the details because it is a personnel issue. Hanson told us, in her words, that she thinks the controversy is about moving people forward to a better situation and improved understanding.
"It's natural that they would express that concern because they have a heart for our teachers, and so do I, and so does our board, so as we move through this together, everyone has their own way of expressing that need and that concern so we want to be very respectful of everybody's way of expressing themselves," Hanson said.
But right now students say they feel like their education has come to a halt.
"When you do something of that like gravity and you stop the gears to a public education institution, I mean, the gears have stopped and nobody is learning anything," Jennings said. "It's chaotic and there's just so much tension walking through the halls but until we like set this on the table and get to the bottom of it, I don't think anything is going to get done."
No actions have been finalized by the boar of trustees, and students say they have not decided how long they will continue the protest.