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

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Campbell River Isolationpalooza II

Featuring all local musicians! The Mirror’s virtual concert, of sorts!

WATCH: Emergency services joins nightly salute to Campbell River frontline workers

Parade with lights and sirens stopped in front of Campbell River Hospital

Campbell River Storm says make some noise for healthcare workers

Car horns, pots and pans, applause and yelling all encouraged

COVID-19: Isolation exemptions to frontline workers a danger to patients, say Island Health employees

Staff exempt from self-isolation upon return from international travel according to Island Health

Campbell River grocers working to provide essential service

Ongoing list of hours and details about local grocery stores

No plans to call in military right now to enforce COVID-19 quarantine: Trudeau

Trudeau unveils $7.5M for Kids Help Phone, $9M for vulnerable seniors amid COVID-19

QUIZ: How much do you know about the Olympics?

Put your knowledge to the test with these 12 questions

B.C. is seeing the highest rate of COVID-19 recovery in Canada, and there’s a few reasons why

British Columbia was one of the first to see rise in COVID-19 cases, and has also switched up testing

World COVID-19 update: U.S. expects 100,000 deaths; Oregon declares disaster

Comprehensive update of world news for Sunday, March 19.

B.C. Ferries passengers staying away, as asked, during COVID-19 pandemic

Ferry corporation says ridership down 70-80 per cent over the last week and a half

Sewers stitch masks to free up supplies for front-line health-care workers

“We have little old ladies sewing up a storm,” said Joan Davis

Most Read