LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WHAS11) -- It’s a simple question with a not so simple answer: Should Manual High School Principal Jerry Mayes be fired?
“I feel like he should at least get suspended for a minute so he can think about his actions like how they do children in school, at the same time, I feel like I want a sincere apology,” said Grace Pennix, a student at the school.
Mayes did apologize last week. The concern began after Mayes was recorded, saying students were 'sensationalizing kneeling' and 'jumping on the bandwagon,' following national anthem protests. He also said he, too, had faced discrimination in his life and career.
“just felt that the comments made by Mr. Mayes were unprofessional, they were inappropriate, and when he addressed the facts about the kneeling and calling it bandwagon, and the cool thing to do, I felt disrespected because I kneeled personally and I feel like he discredited my actions without actually talking to me about it.”
A discussion led by Black Lives Matter of Louisville and Manual's Black Student Union called for Principal Mayes to be fired.
“This is a very toxic situation that needs to be handled immediately, and until Mayes is held accountable, I honestly don't see myself wanting to walk through the halls or feel safe being a student at Manual,” said one student Thursday night.
There were also students there defending him.
“He is not a bad person, everybody says a bad thing, everybody messes up,” another student explained.
“People feel threatened, I know, but if you give this man a chance to change, and be held accountable, not by telling him to be fired, but let him make the changes you demanded.”
“I believe that he was sincere in his apology, whether people think he was or not, I think the apology was so sincere and seeing him around school I think you can tell it's eating him up inside that they feel this type of way about it,” said another student, Seryn Bentley.
A peaceful protest was held earlier this week at the high school where more than 100 students sat down on the center hall steps. Principal Mayes called it a peaceful, but vocal sit-in.