Students Stage Sit-Down Protest Over Staff Reductions at St. Regis High School [AUDIO]
About 20 students at St. Regis High School staged a 'sit-down' protest on the football field on Monday morning over staff reductions and a dispute with Janet Hanson, the St. Regis District One School Superintendent.
Student body president Jerren Jennings said about 40 students originally agreed to meet on the field for the protest, although only 20 took part.
"We've been having issues with staff turnover, and me and my close friend and associate Dallas Lewis both agree that the teachers aren't necessarily being treated fairly," Jennings said from the school grounds on Monday. "Two teachers were put on administrative leave about a week ago and two more were issued non-renewal notices for no apparent reason."
Jennings said the decision to protest emerged after students attended a chaotic board meeting.
"We didn't feel like we were being heard, so we organized a sit-down protest. After breakfast at the high school we came out and just sat on the football field, and refused to go to class," Jennings said.
There was little reaction from the faculty and administration, until the TV News trucks began to arrive.
""Our hope was that we could get a teacher to come out and talk to us, and eventually talk to the superintendent to really get to the bottom of everything that's been going on, but that didn't happen" Jennings said. "The administration didn't really start paying attention until the news media started showing up. Our superintendent started running around all happy as if she was really enthused about what we were doing. I'm not sure is she was actually enthused, or if it was just a facade."
Jennings and his fellow students believe the problem is with the superintendent, Janet Hanson.
"The ultimate goal would be for everybody on the administration to see what the problem is," Jennings said. "I think everybody in the community and most of the students in St. Regis believe the superintendent's actions are the root of the problem, and hopefully, the administration can do something about that. Whether the result is making her resign, or maybe having her look at things from a different perspective."
St. Regis High School Student Body President Jerren Jennings
St. Regis School Superintendent Janet Hanson responded by stating simply that she was legally not allowed to discuss personnel issues.
"I can. however, speak to the fact that we had students that were expressing concerns over situations that were expressed at a recent school board meeting," Hanson said.
Hanson referred news media to a document from the Board of Trustees, called the Uniform Complaint Procedure.
"To protect everyone, for privacy rights of individuals, and also for the safe operations at schools, we follow the guidelines and regulations that are given to us when concerns are brought to the administration and then we follow up on that concern," Hanson said. "Wed have a policy called '1700' and we encourage anyone who has a concern, to follow that policy."
St. Regis School District One School Superintendent Janel Hanson
The '1700' document provides the steps an individual can take to file a complaint against the administration. Here is the link to that document.