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MNPS Director of Schools concerned after Antioch student walkout

Antioch High School

Metro Nashville Public Schools' Director of Schools said Monday he will examine last week's walkout and "overall culture" at Antioch High School.

In a statement to the Antioch High School community, Dr. Shawn Joseph said he's concerned by the viewpoints expressed by student demonstrators at Friday's walkout. Jones visited Antioch High School Monday to speak with Dr. Wiley and student leaders.

Students organized the walkout last Friday to protest the football coach's firing. MNPS said students left their classrooms about 8 a.m.

Read Dr. Joseph's full statement below.

"Dear Antioch High staff and community partners:

The viewpoints expressed by student demonstrators on Friday caused me great concern. I visited Antioch this morning to personally speak with Dr. Wiley and separately with some student leaders. It is clear that Antioch is beloved by its student body and they organized the walkout on Friday because they want opportunities to succeed and they want the school to be great for everyone, including staff.

Every student and employee deserves to be in a welcoming and positive school environment. Antioch High School has many strengths on which we want to build, including strong academic pathways and extracurricular activities. We have to make sure the school continues to become even stronger and that comes by us paying close attention to issues of culture and working with staff, parents and students to take the school to the next level.

I have assembled a team to thoroughly examine the issues that have been raised as well as the overall culture of Antioch High School. Even if some of the complaints turn out to be misunderstandings or misperceptions, we have to acknowledge that perception is reality, and so we must and will do better.

Dr. Wiley assured me that she is fully committed to working collaboratively with students and staff to resolve the concerns at hand and better communicate with all stakeholders going forward. An open dialogue is essential for a healthy culture where staff feel supported, students feel nurtured and everyone feels valued.

I will be deploying staff to Antioch this week to gather input from you, your colleagues and Antioch students. These will be independent research staff who will be charged with unearthing the root causes of the issues that have been raised so that we can develop a proactive plan to address them. This work may have to continue after you return from spring break to ensure we are completely thorough.

Look for details to be shared soon on how you can help us with this process. Thank you for your commitment to our students and to Antioch.

Sincerely,

Dr. Shawn Joseph

Director of Schools"

MNPS released the following statement on the walkout:

"A few hundred students at Antioch High School participated in a peaceful walkout today in response to a personnel issue involving the football coach. Personnel matters at schools are at the discretion of the principal. We are working with the administration at Antioch High School to resolve this issue with the community."

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