Manual principal, Black Student Union at center of letters to JCPS board

Comments made by the Manual principal about kneeling during the anthem have sparked controversy.

 UPDATE: Since this story has aired one of the teachers named in the letters has reached out to WHAS11 denying allegations that he has ever asked or encouraged a student to secretly record Principal Mayes or anyone else.

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WHAS11) -- With growing calls for the principal of Manual High School to be fired or step down, a group of parents is coming forward to show their support for the embattled administrator.

WHAS11 was provided three letters by two separate parents of kids that are members of the Manual Black Student Union who say that Principal Mayes is being undermined by members of his own staff, and they feel these teachers are using their kids to do it.

“There’s students who want change in that school, but they’re quiet because they’re scared,” said Manual senior Quintez Brown, President of the Manual Black Student Union.

Comments made by Manual Principal Jerry Mayes over kneeling during the national anthem have sparked protests and sit-ins.

“There are several children throughout the school and throughout the BSU that have had issues,” said Black Lives Matter organizer Chanelle Helm.  Principal Mayes has been giving the Manual Black Student Union a lot of business ever since its inception.”

 “I believe he should be removed,” said Brown.

However, not everyone feels the same way as Brown and Helm.

Parents of two children in the Manual BSU have written letters of support for Principal Mayes saying that he has done nothing but good things for their kids, and the school.

 “Her respect for him, and her sons respect for him, are present and evident and have been since her son has been there,” said Linda Duncan.  “That means a great deal to me.”

JCPS board member Linda Duncan hadn’t seen these letters until WHAS11 brought them to her attention.

 “I’m very stunned that this other side is emerging,” said Duncan.  “I appreciate so much the fact that the mother shared her view of what’s going on.”

Duncan says she’s deeply concerned by the claims that three Manual BSU sponsors, who teach at the school, are pushing an agenda that undermines Principal Mayes.

“This was just a student issue,” said Duncan.  “This rose to the level of input from adults who then I think may have had an influence on how this situation grew.”

“If we’re expecting these students, these children around their age, to just pop out and be 18 and be accountable for all of their actions it has to start now,” said Helm.  “If they let you know that something isn’t right you need to start listening.”

“The BSU at Manual School has nothing against Mayes personally,” said Brown.  “We don’t want him fired because we don’t like him.  We understand that fear has influenced a lot of people’s actions.  We want to make sure everyone feels safe and comfortable in our school.”

JCPS administration declined to comment for this story due to an ongoing independent investigation into the matter.

Read the letters below:

© 2017 WHAS-TV


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