Shandon students storm out of class in protest
October 16, 2013
By JOSH FRIEDMAN
Shandon High School students stormed out of class today in protest of the firing of Shandon Joint Unified School District Superintendent Rodney Wallace at a special board meeting Tuesday.
The school board fired Wallace by a 5-0 vote in closed session and did not publicly provide a reason for his termination. The board said his contract would terminate as of noon Wednesday, but, after Wallace arrived at Shandon High School Wednesday morning, a member of the board escorted him off campus.
More than 10 high school students stayed home Wednesday and at least 20 additional students walked out of class in protest, sources told CalCoastNews. Shandon High School has a total enrollment of 58 students.
A campus officer attempted to chase down some of the students. Nevertheless, even more students plan to leave at noon, sources said.
Numerous parents who protested Wallace’s firing at the meeting Tuesday credited the superintendent with improving their children’s grades. Wallace implemented a program in 2013 at Shandon High School that requires students to meet with teachers weekly to discuss how they can improve their performance in the classroom, something that sources say some teachers are against.
Under Wallace’s leadership, Shandon High School became accredited in 2012.
Board members refused to discuss the firing Tuesday, citing privacy concerns and California’s open meeting law, the Ralph M. Brown Act.
Tuesday’s board meeting at Shandon High School drew a standing room only crowd, despite beginning at 4:45 p.m., an hour and 15 minutes before the usual meeting time of 6 p.m. Board members said they changed the time because it was an emergency meeting.
At the start of the meeting, the board allowed just 20 minutes of public comment, 10 minutes each for supporters and detractors of Wallace. After returning from closed session, the board reopened public comment.
Two current students and one former student spoke in favor of Wallace.
One speaker who opposed Wallace said the large crowd supporting the superintendent only came for the pizza and soda. After hearing the comment, a group of parents left the meeting.
Some contractors and employees of the district say their positions are in jeopardy because they have been critical of the firing of the superintendent.
Wallace was superintendent of the Shandon Unified School District for about four years. The district is composed of Shandon Elementary School, Shandon High School and Parkfield Elementary School.