Lee High School Students, Staff Protest School Board Meeting


By Ashley Thompson

A crowd of protesters from Lee High School stormed the Montgomery County school board meeting demanding the board reinstate their school's suspended administrators.

Seven administrators total were put on paid leave late last year as a result of grade-changing allegations. Protestors outside of the Board of Education building say it's time for them to get back to work.

"We're here today to show support for Mr. Lorenza Pharrams, Dr. Jacob Holloway and Dr. Janet Reese."

The school board allowed just one person to voice their feelings regarding the ongoing investigation. So Michelle Summers, a theatre teacher at Lee High School spoke for everyone. Clearly frustrated with the pace of the grade-changing investigation, she feels it's time to put suspended administrators back to work and says she won't stop protesting their absence.

"I wont rest with the state," she says. "If we have to go to the federal government, we'll do that."

Ricky Rogers of Lee High School's PTSA says the atmosphere at the school hasn't been the same since administrators left.

"Morale. The discipline. Everything has began to spiral downward in their absence," he says.

And a science teacher at Lee agrees with him.

"Everyday that he's not there, we're losing," says Leroy Barrow. "We're losing a lot of morale and also the school constantly is on a decline."

But Montgomery County School Board President Eleanor Dawkins says school board members are staying mum about Barbara Thompson's investigation, not because they want to but because they have to.

"We've not been given information as to the results of their investigation," she explains. "Consequently, we can not respond. We understand that people want information and as soon as we have it and can provide it, we'll be happy to. Because again, it's important to us to be transparent just like the public thinks we should be." 

Still, some people doubt the ongoing investigation will dig up anything that serious.

"I honestly don't care what comes out of this investigation," says parent James Woodworth. "If it was something criminal, he would have already been charged with something so obviously it's not that critical."

"Without our principal, what are we? That's just like a building without a foundation," says Lee High School student Diamond Collins.