Joan Martinez was one of the numerous parents who arrived to fetch their students from Kathleen High School in Lakeland, Florida. She remarked her son called her and said he needed to be picked up. He called her after many students were taken into custody amid a demonstration calling for newly-inducted Principal Daraford Jones’ dismissal.
Jones, as the new principal of the Florida school, has made it apparent that tardiness would not be excused and after-school activities would need to be worked hard for. He has commanded pupils to be locked out of classrooms even if they are late by one minute. On Monday, along with social studies teacher Tomaris Hill, the students opposed the new rules and stated they felt like prisoners.
Being Treated Like ‘Inmates’
With the help of a number of staff members and parents, the students planned the event over the weekend. They agreed to meet at 6 AM on Monday in front of the school to appeal for the new principal to step down and to voice their grievances. According to senior student Peyton Lang, “We feel like he treats us like inmates. Locking the building and changing the bell schedules. We’ll be not even a minute late and they put us away when we could be learning.”
Tracie Coccia, a parent of one of the students, said she understands the statement behind the protest but the approach is wrong. According to Coccia, the children do not find the new principal’s enforcement of new guidelines favorable. She also shared that for a homecoming dance, they do have one but they were ordered to wear jeans with no dress-up and dancing with other pupils.