LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WHAS11) – A week after Principal Jerry Mayes was reprimanded by JCPS leadership over controversial comments more than one hundred Manual students turned to a peaceful protest to voice their concerns that Mayes remained in power.
"Our biggest stand is that we support the students,” Fern Creek BSU member Jaylen Gordon said. “We're not against the staff. This isn't a racial war, and it's not a student staff war. We support the rights of the students though."
A few hours later students like Fern Creek black student union founder Jaylen Gordon earned a seat at the table as an ad hoc committee discussed race and equality within JCPS.
"We talked about a lot of racial equity issues going on in the classroom,” Gordon said.
"We're talking about the under-representation of teachers of color, and school counselors of color,” UofL professor Ahmad Washington said. “Specifically, black teachers and black school counselors."
University of Louisville professor Ahmad Washington says the recent issues at Manual and J-Town underscore that there are larger issues within the district.
"If we're talking about racial justice, and racial equity then we have to be more forthcoming in talking about the myriad of ways that antiblackness and racism exist,” Washington said.
By standing up, or in this case sitting down, Washington says students are ensuring that their voices are being heard loud and clear.
"It's happening now without anyone's consent,” Washington said. “That's the thing about resistance traditions you're not asking or waiting for someone to allow you space to do this work. You are doing it because it is affirming and it is the right thing to do."
As for what comes next, Washington says it depends on how the district reacts.
"You might see appointees, and you might see people hired, but if the actual structure, policies, and institution doesn't transform these sorts of issues will continue to reverberate and reappear in the future,” Washington said.
"This is a positive step in the right direction,” said Gordon. “I don't feel like in past years the district has taken issues like this as serious."
Manual Principal released a statement saying that loves every student at Manual.
He went on to add that after meeting with the Black Student Union on Friday his focus is on how they can work together and move forward.