Skeena Middle School students across all grade levels walked out of their classrooms at 11:11 a.m. on May 1, 2019. They gathered at Coast Mountains School District 82’s head office on Kenney St. to protest against staffing changes announced by the district last week. (Brittany Gervais/The Terrace Standard)

‘Save our principals’: Terrace students walk out to protest staffing changes

This would affect several schools in the district, with two principals assuming teaching positions

About 50 students across all grade levels walked out of Skeena Middle School Wednesday in protest of staffing changes announced by the school district last week.

In a news release, Coast Mountains School District 82 said current Skeena Middle School principal Phillip Barron and vice-principal Cory Killoran would be leaving their administrative positions for teaching positions in September, meaning the school’s top leaders would be leaving.

The current principal at Majagaleehl Gali Aks Elementary School in Hazelton, Cindy Sousa, was appointed to be the middle school’s new principal.

READ MORE: School district briefs: Stewart protests possible budget cuts

The students walked out of their classes at 11:11 a.m. and gathered outside the Coast Mountains School District 82 head office on Kenney St., chanting “Save our principals!” in unison.

“It came out of nowhere,” says Grade 9 student Ryhan Nester.

Nester says students were upset when they were told Barron and Killoran would be taking teaching positions after refusing to relocate to administrative positions at a New Hazelton school. They were also told both Barron and Killoran would be teaching at Thornhill Elementary, not Skeena Middle School.

Upset at the changes, Nester says the students didn’t have anything organized but quickly gathered together, walked out of their classrooms, and headed toward the school district’s office.

“They’re not only good principals, but good people as well. They look after us like we’re family,” Nester says.

“Many of our teachers said we could do this, and that this is up to us. They can’t say anything because they could lose their jobs.”

“Students have voices too and we can fight for our rights,” added Grade 9 student Brianna Onstein.

READ MORE: School district scrambles to fill vacant teaching spots

The students were not only protesting changes to their school administration but changes to other schools in the district as well.

Suwilaawks Community School principal Pam Kawinksy will be assuming a teaching position, with current vice-principle Julia Jacobs stepping into the role to replace her.

The current vice-principal at Mount Elizabeth Middle/Secondary School in Kitimat, Christine Byrd, was appointed as the school’s new principal.

The changes have also left vacancies at the schools affected. CMSD82 is now conducting a Canada-wide search for a new principal for Majagaleehl Gali Aks Elementary School, and new vice-principals for Cassie Hall Elementary, Mount Elizabeth Secondary School and Skeena Middle School.

Missing from the school district’s news release is a reason indicating why these staffing changes are necessary.

“I’ve grown up with Mr. Barron and Mr. Killoran playing hockey with their kids, I’ve known them my whole life. They shouldn’t have to leave,” says another student.

Nester says the students plan to stay as “long as it takes” until the district gives them an explanation for the changes.

At the time of this posting interview requests with the school district have not been returned.

More to come.


 


brittany@terracestandard.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Just Posted

Accused killer Colin John found unfit for trial

The man accused of killing a Chemainus man more than three years… Continue reading

Striking Western Forest Products workers could lose benefits in September

Union, forest company at odds over Vancouver Island benefit payments as strike enters third month

Chemainus Health Care Auxiliary outlines its mandate at North Cowichan council meeting

President Beaubier states her case for group’s tireless efforts

Current MP opens Cowichan-Malahat-Langford campaign office

MacGregor vowing to return to Ottawa for another four years

Environment and economy key issues for Liberal’s Cowichan-Malahat-Langford candidate

Herbert campaign focuses on party’s investments in both areas

Trudeau to meet with U.K. and Japanese prime ministers ahead of G7 summit

French President Emmanuel Macron, this year’s G7 host, has little expectations of a unified front from the leaders

Vancouver Island man dead after reported hit-and-run incident

Oceanside RCMP seek public’s help gathering information

Thousands cycle to conquer cancer

The 11th annual Ride to Conquer Cancer took place Saturday morning, Aug. 24 in Surrey, B.C.

PHOTOS: Brazil military begins operations to fight Amazon fires

Amazon fires have become a global issue, escalating tensions between Brazil and European countries

Racist confrontation in Richmond parking lot caught on camera

Woman can be heard yelling racial slurs, swear words at woman in apparent parking dispute

Groups ready campaign to help young voters identify ‘fake news’ in election

The media literacy campaign to focus on identifying misinformation and suspicious sources online

Big rally in northern B.C. draws attention to continuing lumber crisis

Mayor Joan Atkinson says about 400 workers have been directly affected by the closure of the Canfor mill

Orangeville Northmen take Minto Cup at Langley Events Centre

Swept best-of-five series 3-0 over Victoria Shamrocks

Expanded support to help B.C. youth from care attend university still falling short

Inadequate support, limited awareness and eligibility restrictions some of the existing challenges

Most Read