Jefferson Davis County H.S. students protest after principal is “reassigned”

Published: Dec. 5, 2022 at 5:15 PM CST
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JACKSON, Miss. (WLBT) - Students at Jefferson Davis County High School protested Monday after their former principal was let go suddenly on Friday, December 2.

The students could be heard yelling “No Young, No Class” inside the school Monday morning. Students said they won’t stop fighting until the former principal returns to school grounds.

“We need to succeed in life, and Mr. Young gave us that foundation that we can walk on. So I just feel like they’re knocking us all down when they take Mr. Young out the school district,” 11th-grader Prince Copeland said.

Frustrated and heartbroken students marched the halls of Jefferson Davis County High School, all with one mission: to bring Principal Robert Young back.

“Our former principal has been wrongfully demoted, and we all feel that he has been such an impact on our lives. He shouldn’t be removed at our school district,” Copeland explained.

Families received a shocking email Friday stating Mr. Young would be “reassigned” to the Alternative School and a new principal would be taking his place.

When students didn’t get answers as to why he was being forced to leave, they did the one thing they could. Use their voices.

“I was so confused because everything was going so good, but we’re not going to class until he comes back,” Robert Young’s son, Kori Dotson, said.

Students were sent into an assembly this morning prior to the protest. However, students didn’t feel like Superintendent Dr. Isaac “Ike” Haynes was listening.

“He was giving us an opportunity to speak our mind. Every time somebody got up there to say something, and after they’d go back to their seat, he would send them out,” 10th-grader Lily Gregor explained.

Dr. Haynes was previously the superintendent of Canton Public Schools but was fired after test scores were too low for their board’s standards.

Students said while they don’t dislike Dr. McLeod, they feel a piece of their school is missing with Mr. Young gone.

“When I first started, I didn’t really fit in. Mr. Young was the only person that would talk to me every day and make sure I was okay. He asked me how classes were going. You know, we all felt like we had a connection with Mr. Young, and it’s not gonna be the same with Dr. McLeod,” Gregor said.

The school district issued a statement during the protests today stating: “Jefferson Davis County School District is faced with a personnel issue. We will deal with it as such. This is an ongoing investigation. At its conclusion, all facts will be made available to the school board. The district will not be sidetracked. This matter will be handled by the Superintendent and Board of Trustees.” - Mr. Isaac Haynes, Superintendent of Education.

Dr. Jason McLeod will be the interim principal for the high school for the remainder of the school year, with direct support from Dr. Debra Dace, Chief Academic Officer.

Parents outside the school Monday told 3 On Your Side that they’re concerned about Dr. Dace, who resigned from the Greenville Public School District after being suspended for 7 days for failing to communicate/misleading the board regarding a contract with Kids First, according to the Delta Democrat-Times.

For now, students say they will stand up for Mr. Young until he returns.

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