More than 300 Auburn students ‘stand up for Dr. J’
By Joe McGehee
In reaction to the dismissal of Dr. Richard Jancek as Auburn High School principal, more than 300 Auburn High School students gathered peacefully Dec. 16 to protest the removal of the man they affectionately called “Dr. J.”
The students assembled across the street from Auburn High School early this morning, holding signs of support for Jancek, before taking their protest to the Rockford Public School Administration Building at 201 S. Madison St.
“It’s unfair for them to fire Dr. Jancek,” said Jessica Moore, a senior at Auburn High School. “All the students at Auburn question why he was fired, and we’re here for answers.”
Joy Anderson, who is also an Auburn High senior, said: “We want Dr. Jancek back. He makes kids want to come to school, and it’s unfair that they can’t give us a reason why they fired him.”
More than 50 Auburn High School students made their way to 201 S. Madison St. to peaceably address District 205 officials. They were greeted at the door by District 205 Executive Director of Schools Earl Hernandez and brought to a second-floor conference room to have their concerns addressed.
District 205 Superintendent Dr. LaVonne M. Sheffield was not in attendance to address the students’ concerns.
According to District 205 Chief Communications Officer Mark Bonne, Sheffield was “… out of the building dealing with urgent business, with limited ability to communicate with District 205 staff.
“Dr. Sheffield will not be commenting today,” Bonne later added.
Hernandez added: “To characterize it as her dodging these issues would be irresponsible. She works harder than anyone in the district; but unfortunately, she is away dealing with personal issues.”
Of the more than 50 students who went to the Administration Building to voice their concerns, seniors Carly Torre, Monette Tanuyan and Gregg Callahan were chosen to address the media about their morning with new principal Patrick Hardy.
“Dr. Hardy’s speech didn’t address our concerns,” said Torre. “From what I’ve been told, this was the same speech he gave on his first day at Ellis Arts Academy, and he never mentioned why Dr. Jancek was no longer there.”
Callahan said: “He (Hardy) said he was going to allow us to let off some steam with our protest. And, he didn’t seem genuine in his concerns. We loved Dr. Jancek and shared a close bond with him, and that’s why we’re here.”
Tanuyan added: “We felt like Dr. Hardy wasn’t addressing our concerns. When our concerns weren’t addressed at the assembly this morning, we knew we had to come here to have our voices heard.”
Torre, Tanuyan and Callahan are scheduled to meet with Sheffield Monday, Dec. 21, to voice their concerns about the replacement of Jancek.
To read about the removal of Jancek and former West Middle School Principal Thomas Schmitt click here.
Check back to rockrivertimes.com for more information about this breaking story.
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