HUBER HEIGHTS — A group of parents called the Coalition of Concerned African American Students of Wayne High School say they are “gravely concerned for the safety of their children attending Wayne High School.”
The group, led by Will Smith, has sent a list of demands to Huber Heights City Schools administrators with a 7-day deadline for response.
Huber Heights City Schools Superintendent Susan Gunnell says safety is a top priority.
“School safety is the number one priority for all students in the Huber Heights City School District,” she said. “We are extremely proud and take great pride in the time and effort our staff members commit to creating a safe learning environment in all of our schools.”
The Coalition sees things differently. Their demands include the First Amendment rights of students be upheld, student safety as a priority, and “safe spaces for African American students and other students of color.”
The demands come days after the high school’s homecoming dance was ended early after multiple students called police reporting gun fire.
Subsequent investigation found no guns were fired and that the sounds students heard were balloons popping.
Police announced on Tuesday that no charges would be filed as a result of the incident.
Smith claims that over half of students didn’t attend school on Monday due to a bomb threat that was posted on SnapChat. School officials report that there was a drop in attendance on Monday, but it was closer to 80 percent attendance where 91 percent is normal.
The Coalition claims that several threats were made prior to the dance and targeted students who took a knee during the National Anthem at a pep assembly and prior to Wayne’s homecoming game versus Centerville. They also claim that “teachers threatened disciplinary action towards those students choosing to kneel for the anthem.”
Smith said that he met with Wayne Principal Jeffrey Berk on Monday and found him to be “very accommodating.” He said he would like to meet with Superintendent Sue Gunnell and, in the press release demanded a response within seven days.
“I’d like to meet with them, but if they can’t sit down with me then I’m not sure what we will do next,” said Smith.
Gunnell said that Berk has offered Smith a seat on Wayne’s Parent Advisory Group.
“We have open arms to parents, community members, and students,” said Gunnell. “Anyone with a problem should meet with their building principal or meet with me. We strive to promote a positive learning environment. We appreciate the cooperation and support of our community agencies in supporting us in our efforts to make sure Huber Heights City Schools is a great place to learn and Huber Heights is a great place to live.”
Reach Darrell Wacker at (937) 684-8983 or on Twitter @HH_Courier.