Superintendent, school district respond to North Rowan High School walkout

Published 7:28 pm Monday, February 14, 2022

SPENCER — Rowan-Salisbury Schools Superintendent Tony Watlington says he supports students who demonstrated at North Rowan High School Friday morning and collected some of their feedback for its principal search.

The Friday morning protest was a brief walkout, about 10 minutes, and composed mostly of upperclassmen at the school. They walked out to the main entrance of the school holding signs before filtering back inside.

The protesters pointed to teachers leaving the school and the continued lack of a permanent principal as some of the concerns motivating the walkout. The walkout was supervised by the district, with school administration and district risk management on site.

A statement from the district provided to the Post Monday said the district supports students exercising their First Amendment rights.

“As a school district, we are educating future citizens. Thus, Rowan-Salisbury Schools supports students in the exercise of their First Amendment rights,” RSS said in its statement. “In addition to the development of academic skills, as a part of our Renewal Directional System, we are actively engaging students in the development of interpersonal skills and unique life goals so they leave us equipped to be enrolled in institutions of higher learning, enlisted in the military, or employed in high-paying jobs. This includes students developing leadership skills, communication, and problem-solving skills, as well as setting goals based on their personal passions. We saw this in action on Friday.”

Separately, RSS Superintendent Tony Watlington said he applauds the students for making their voices heard. Watlington said district administration met with some students on Friday.

“It was exciting to see students so passionate about the future of their school,” Watlington said. “Designated cabinet members and I met with a group of student council leaders and representatives on Friday afternoon, Feb. 11, 2022, to get their feedback on the qualities they desire in their next principal.”

Meredith Williams officially resigned as principal at North on Dec. 31. In response to a records request, RSS said there are two retired interim principals currently serving at North.

The district confirmed Williams is still working for RSS on a part-time basis as a consultant.

About Carl Blankenship

Carl Blankenship has covered education for the Post since December 2019. Before coming to Salisbury he was a staff writer for The Avery Journal-Times in Newland and graduated from Appalachian State University in 2017, where he was editor of The Appalachian.

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