Ramsay HS students walk out in protest of principal's removal - KAIT-Jonesboro, AR-News, weather, sports

Ramsay HS students walk out in protest of principal's removal

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Ramsay students took their protest to the Birmingham Board of Education building. Source: Sherea Harris/WBRC Ramsay students took their protest to the Birmingham Board of Education building. Source: Sherea Harris/WBRC
Students protest outside of Ramsay High School, chanting "Keep Dr. Nettles." Source: Sherea Harris/WBRC Students protest outside of Ramsay High School, chanting "Keep Dr. Nettles." Source: Sherea Harris/WBRC
Around 60-70 students joined in the protest outside the school. Source: Sherea Harris/WBRC Around 60-70 students joined in the protest outside the school. Source: Sherea Harris/WBRC
The protest lasted about five minutes, until school officials told the students to go back inside. Source: Sherea Harris/WBRC The protest lasted about five minutes, until school officials told the students to go back inside. Source: Sherea Harris/WBRC
BIRMINGHAM, AL (WBRC) -

A large group of Ramsay High School students staged a walk-out at their school in protest of their beloved principal, Dr. Evelyn Nettles, being removed from the school.

The Birmingham Board of Education voted on Tuesday to transfer Nettles to another school, citing concerns with academic performance at Ramsay. Nettles appeared at the meeting and defended herself, telling her supporters that the school has made a lot of progress.

The decision to remove Nettles from Ramsay was unpopular among many students and parents. Nettles will be transferred to Kennedy Alternative School.

Around 60 to 70 Ramsay students rushed out of the school doors on Wednesday around 11:30 a.m., many of them wearing their school's colors of blue and red. Students held signs and chanted "Keep Dr. Nettles" for about five minutes until school officials came out, including one with a bullhorn, and told the students to go back to their classrooms.

"We just want to get across our point that if you really want to help us, let us keep our principal," sophomore Kalyn Robinson said.

Robinson says she was one of the students who wasn't allowed outside of the building. She says staff members were trying to control the situation.

Her mother, Angela Strozier, checked Robinson out of school to be part of the protest.

"I stand behind my daughter in reference of anything she wants to do that's right. This, in my opinion, is the right thing to do. How can a school recently titled an IB school and National Blue Ribbon school be failing academically?" Strozier said.

Some of the students went back inside the school, but a group walked to the Birmingham Board of Education in hopes of meeting with Birmingham City Schools Superintendent Craig Witherspoon. They protested in front of the BOE building, yelling for Witherspoon's resignation. They did not get a meeting with the superintendent.

The head of the American Federation of Teachers tried to help the students.

"When we got here they locked the doors on the students. I went in and tried to talk to Dr. Witherspoon because as of today they have not addressed the student body," Richard Franklin said.

Students who joined in the protest may face disciplinary actions. At least one parent said she's fine with her child being involved in the protest, even if it means she gets in trouble.

Superintendent Craig Witherspoon issued a statement on Wednesday afternoon, saying he fully intends to meet with Ramsay students "in the near future to provide information that is relevant" to the school's progress. See his full statement below:

At Birmingham City Schools, academic achievement, coupled with student safety and security, are first and foremost. It is always my intent to put students' best academic interest and safety first, and I am disappointed when adults compromise either. I am a Superintendent, but I am also a parent. In both of these roles I certainly understand the importance of allowing children to voice their concerns and opinions, in the appropriate context and forum. But I also understand the role in making decisions, sometimes unpopular, that children, and even adults, do not understand due to the lack of background information relative to specific matters.

It is my full intent to meet with the students at Ramsay High School in the near future to provide information that is relevant to the future progress of the school. Any meeting or discussion prior to last night's board meeting and vote would have been inappropriate, and a breach of established protocol relative to personnel actions and board operating procedures.

Craig Witherspoon, Ed. D.

Superintendent

Copyright 2014 WBRC. All rights reserved.

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