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Naugatuck High School walks out

Isabella Sciarappa and Stephen Torres

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On May 11th at Naugatuck High School, students from all four grades organized a walkout – a protest in hopes to have their voices heard about the hiring of a new Associate Principal. They also vocalized their strong opinions about the current leadership under Mr. Thomas Pompei, Interim Associate Principal, and Mr. Brian Mariano, Dean of Student Affairs and Athletic Director

At 12:05 after the 7th period bell rang, students gathered together on the patio. Many held up signs that ranged from “Say no to letting them go!” “Keep Mariano!” “Keep Pompei!” and “We need them!”

Emily Dwyer, freshman at Naugatuck High School, found out about the decisions about the positions and decided to take action.

¨I feel that [me and my peers] would be deeply and horribly impacted by the change that was going to be made and I felt we needed our voices spoken to the Board of Ed and I knew I needed to take action and do something about it.”

A couple hundred students waited for the appropriate attention and then poured out of the front doors, holding their signs, screaming and chanting.

All of the students ran to the flagpole and continued to chant “Keep Mariano, Keep Pompei!” over and over up to when students decided to make their way to the other end of the school where Board of Education is located.

Students walked around the back of the school eventually ending up back at the front of the school. Chanting continued until the protest eventually ended.

The principal of Naugatuck High School,  Mrs.Saam was interviewed about the protest. She had stated that she would not condone students leaving the building and missing classes; however she still spoke to the students and had a conversation with them.

“I explained that if their behavior was not orderly and it became unruly, the behavior would overshadow any message they hoped to make.”

“It is the [Board of Education] that appoints administrators and none of them would see this protest,” she continued.

When interviewed she did have one question for the students.

“Was it worth it?”

Students transitioned back into the school building smoothly after the end of one period.

That same night a Board of Education meeting was held. Five residents of Naugatuck spoke about their stance on the reassigning administrators’ roles.

During the meeting a total of four students and one parent spoke on how they felt about the transfer of positions.

Dwyer, who could not attend due to previously committing to a family event, but did go to Board of Ed the following day, May 12th, gave them the hundreds of signatures gathered on the petition to keep Mr. Mariano and Mr. Pompei’s positions the same.

It was officially released that the positions would be switched and a new assistant principal will be introduced for the 2017-2018 school year.

Dwyer said she felt as if the Board of Ed had already made up their mind by the time of the meeting, and genuinely did not care what students had to say however did give everyone who spoke at the meeting time to hear how they felt.

Mr. Pompei and Mr. Mariano both expressed gratitude towards the students who spoke out but have made it clear that they respect the Board of Ed’s decision regardless.

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Naugatuck High School walks out