IHS students protest over band director being put on administrative leave

Published 2:37 pm Saturday, May 25, 2024

By Joseph DiCristofaro
The Ironton Tribune

A group of Ironton High School students protested on the sidewalk in front of the school on Thursday in response to band director Anthony Nolan being placed on leave following an incident that occurred on May 17.
“We want students in class, but we know that we’re in a situation where students’ voices want to be heard and this is the format they chose to do that,” said Mark LaFon, Ironton City Schools Student Services director.
Nolan was placed on leave on Monday after according to a police incident report from Friday, May 17, when the Ironton Police Department was called after an allegation that Nolan grabbed a former student from Rock Hill by the hair prior a band performance at IHS. The incident report stated that the student and his mother said that Nolan and the student were joking and that they have a great relationship.
Students gathered on the sidewalk in front of IHS on Thursday morning, many of whom have been directly involved with Nolan in his first year at IHS.
“We told students if you’re on school grounds, you’re going to be in class, we can’t have people running around,” LaFon said. “Or your parents can sign you out, if they want to, for the day, that means they have you, and if they choose to let their kid go off school grounds, which that sidewalk is off school grounds, is where they can be.”
The protest garnered attention from cars passing by to look at the students and the messages written on their poster boards such as “We will be heard,” “To be seen is to be heard” and many of the posters contained the hashtag “Be Kind Be Brave,” which has been spread on the internet by students and others in the community to show support for Nolan.
“As long as they are peaceful, our students can go to class, do what they need to do and we can have school in a safe environment, they can stay and protest,” LaFon said. “We’re trying to work with them and hear their voice, but at the same time we have other kids that are here to be in school, so we have to make sure we keep that environment where it needs to be.”

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