Ramsay High students march to Birmingham School Board in protest - ABC 33/40 - Birmingham News, Weather, Sports

Ramsay High students march to Birmingham School Board in protest of principal's ousting (Update)

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Update 3:37 p.m.

Birmingham City Schools Superintendent Craig Witherspoon released the following statement regarding Ramsay High School students protesting at the board of education:

"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."

Update 1:30 p.m.


The nearly 100 Ramsay High students who gathered outside the Birmingham Board of Education in protest of the ousting of principal Dr. Evelyn Nettles were forced to leave after an employee threatened to have them arrested, ABC 33/40 reporter Marissa Mitchell has learned.

The students, who walked out of class shortly after noon, marched to the school board offices and demanded the resignation of Birmingham City Schools Superintendent Craig Witherspoon, who wasn't present at the time. While there, students called BOE President Randall Woodfin, who told the young protesters that their efforts were "noble."

One of Witherspoon's assistants told ABC 33/40 that the superintendent had no comment on the situation and didn't wish to be interviewed, though, a short time later he said he was preparing to release a statement.

Mitchell will have more on this story on the news at 5 and 6 p.m. To watch the newscasts live online, click here.

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Initial Report:

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. -- A large group of Ramsay High students are marching to the Birmingham School Board in protest of the ousting of former principal Evelyn Nettles.

According to one student, the protesters are demanding Birmingham City Schools President Craig Witherspoon resign from his position. The march comes on the heels of a spirited school board meeting Tuesday night that was overflowing with cries for Nettles' return from outraged parents and students.

Witherspoon released a statement
earlier this month regarding the leadership change at Ramsay High.
 
"Although significant strides have been made across the district, we still have a number of schools that are not yet performing at expected levels, given the abilities of our students," Witherspoon said. "With building leadership being a key factor in improving school performance, we assess building leadership annually and make changes as appropriate and necessary. This year will be no different. As in any other business or organization, these assessments are made to improve organizational effectiveness to achieve intended outcomes."


The decision to replace Nettles, who was placed on paid administrative leave May 1, has been a source of heated debates since her removal.

"How, overnight, do you put our principal out? And for what reason?" Alexis Hinton, a senior at Ramsay High said recently in an interview with ABC 33/40.

Reporter Marissa Mitchell is at the scene of the protest and will have updates on this developing story.

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