Greene County Students Protest Issues Surrounding Teachers
GREENE COUNTY, Va. (WVIR) - Students in Greene County are protesting the alleged improper treatment they receive from teachers and that teachers receive from administrators.
The peaceful protest took place at William Monroe High School on Thursday. The student-organized sit-in supported higher pay to teachers instead of renovations and tech-upgrades to the school.
The sit-in was organized after a substitute teacher reportedly used a swear word when speaking with administrators about not being paid “what she is supposed to be.” The incident brought to light what students view as a double-standard that exists in the school.
Protesters say that teachers regularly use profane language with students, but are not punished for it. Students also say teachers judge them by what they are wearing and use offensive language.
Student protesters argue that school leaders are more interested in funding renovations and buying new technology instead of paying higher quality teachers. They believe that by doing so, the mistreatment would cease from both administrators and teachers.
“There were a few teachers in my experience that have used very derogatory terms and its not exactly what you would think but its enough that it was concerning," said WMHS senior Eva Slater.
Dozens of students partook in the protest - which lasted the whole school day - while quietly holding signs in the school's main lobby.
"We've heard all of them say curse words and they were just really casual about it and they didn't do anything about it," said WMHS sophomore Jessica Stearns.
Greene County Public Schools Superintendent Andrea Whitmarsh issued the following statement on Thursday regarding the students' demonstration:
Today, a group of students at William Monroe High School initiated a student-led demonstration to express their concerns regarding various issues of importance to them. Our school administrators monitored the demonstration to ensure student safety throughout the vent and to minimize the disruption to the regular school day. Additionally, school administrators met with groups of students involved in the demonstration to better understand their concerns and address them appropriately.
The event that led to the demonstration is a personnel matter and as such, cannot be discussed publicly. However, we believe it is important for our students to express their feelings in ways that are safe, peaceful, and not disruptive. We will continue to maintain open communication between our students and administrators and will work with students and staff at WMHS to promote a positive learning environment for all.
An email to several students about the protest encouraged them to go to classes where they may have tests or that could affect records given to college admission offices. Student protesters say administrators disciplined them for missing class by giving them in-school suspension or revoking their prom privileges.