TOLEDO, Ohio — A principal with Toledo School for the Arts is on administrative leave following an altercation with a student.
Earlier this week, students held a walkout to protest what they call systemic bullying by teachers and a culture of racism that they say should not be swept under the rug. TSA provided no statement to WTOL 11 in response to student allegations.
The Toledo School for the Arts did release a statement from Director Doug Mead to TSA parents discussing the walkout and the incident the school says contributed to the walkout:
"During the time we were holding class meetings today a group of students participated in a walkout by the dock entrance. First, I want you to know that faculty and staff were present to ensure the safety of all the student participants. Students returned to their classrooms during 6th period.
"Second, I wanted to provide some clarity on the incident I am currently looking into that contributed to prompting the walkout. Yesterday, one of our staff members attempted to de-escalate a situation with a student that resulted in a brief altercation. I will be looking into this further while the staff member is out on administrative leave.
"I want to make sure we are providing an avenue of communication and dialogue with our students, which is why holding these class meetings are so important. I look forward to hearing about their thoughts and experiences as we look to continuously improve the culture at TSA."
The principal on leave is Artistic Director David Saygers. Teacher Jose Hernandez will serve as acting principal.
Details on the altercation, what led to it and what happened during it, have not been provided by TSA.
The walkout was attended by about 100 students, who decried what they describe as an atmosphere of prejudice, racial insensitivity and antisemitism at the school. They took a knee together, carried signs and chanted "No justice, no peace" and "Justice for the students."
The walkout came during previously planned meetings on diversity and inclusion, which Mead had said were intended to "be a valuable opportunity for students to engage in dialogue along with teachers, staff, administration and members of our Board."
While Mead said that the walkout was known about and planned for by having staff members ensure students returned to class safely, he discouraged future walkouts. On social media Wednesday, Mead said that any future walkouts would result in students being marked absent.