EDGEWORTH, Pa. (KDKA) — There have been issues for months over inclusivity at Sewickley Academy.
Since the summer, several administrators and faculty at Sewickley Academy have been made redundant. It reached a tipping point on Thursday when police were called to the school in response to pupils and parents who raised concerns.
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The students were not satisfied and several started a petition to address their concerns. According to parents at Sewickley Academy, students were called to a full high school meeting on Thursday to respond to the petition.
Headteachers said some students felt compelled to sign the petition. KDKA was told that the organizers and some allies then went to speak with the head of the high school about the concerns.
“I was really proud of them. It was very brave of them,” mother Lisa Wren said.
Wren went to support her daughter, as did Mark Cox and his wife. They said the meeting ended with the headteacher leaving.
“All of the students felt like they had been abandoned and not listened to,” Cox said.
The group said they then went to take the petition to Dr Ashley Birtwell, the schools principal. By this point, more students and at least one faculty member had joined.
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“It was a peaceful effort to deliver a petition to him for the care of their classmates,” Wren said.
When Dr. Birtwell was unavailable, Cox and Wren said the schools’ deputy principal, Ken Goleski, confronted the group, called the police and fired a faculty member on the spot.
“For the police to escort me off campus where my children have been for over 10 years is just surreal. It’s completely out of place,” Cox said. “It didn’t have to end like this.”
However, the school said in a message to parents: “Unfortunately there was a situation today which required contacting local authorities to ensure everyone’s safety. Authorities have since left campus as the situation has been resolved.
“What a complete misrepresentation of the facts,” Cox said.
There is now a strike scheduled for Friday morning in front of the school.
Sewickley Academy sent this response to KDKA-TV on Thursday evening.
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“Know that at Sewickley Academy we have always encouraged our community to express their ideas and help our learning reach new heights. However, such initiatives must be carried out in a constructive and inclusive manner. For this reason, we are extremely saddened by recent events at the Academy and our community members’ choice to voice their opinions in an unproductive way that has also transformed our once safe space into one that feels anything but. . This is inconsistent with our core values and is counterproductive as we seek to build a better Academy for the future.