Fire Jerry Mayes - Concerned duPont Manual Alumni call for a principal with principles
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We are writing to raise our concerns about the impact that Principal Jerry Mayes’ tenure has had upon the students, their families, and the faculty and staff and to ask that JCPS Superintendent and School Board intervene to put an end to these abuses.
As graduates of duPont Manual High School, we are absolutely appalled by the actions and statements of Principal Jerry Mayes that have recently been brought to light. The allegations by a significant number of students and parents amount to an ongoing and pervasive pattern of discriminatory practices, harassment, intimidation, manipulation, retaliation, school media censorship, interference with students’ constitutional rights, and outright bigotry throughout Mayes’ teaching career and time as principal.
As alumni of duPont Manual High School, we are honored to be a part of our alma mater’s long tradition of academic, artistic and athletic excellence. Crimsons lead the way in our city, state, and nation by integrating our many talents, skills, paths of study, and visions for the future into one dynamic learning community. We recognize and celebrate that our collective successes are made possible by a diverse and talented student body who find strength in our differences, and faculty who challenge us not only to aim higher but to understand more deeply.
We are concerned that Mayes’ behavior is unbecoming of the legacy that Crimsons have built, damaging to the learning environment and wellbeing of current students, and a threat to Manual’s future excellence as an institution. It is in the entire community’s best interest that duPont Manual maintain the progressive and cooperative environment that has yielded many of our city’s future leaders and innovators and ensure that every student is treated with the respect and dignity needed for a successful academic career and a promising future.
DuPont Manual alumni, JCPS families, and concerned citizens are signing this petition in solidarity with the many students and parents who have courageously come forward to share their stories and advocate for social change at Manual. We wish to affirm the statements and demands made by the founders and current members of Manual’s Black Student Union. We recognize that systemic reforms are clearly needed, and are encouraged by recent steps being made at the district level with regard to race and equity policy. However, we will not remain silent while students are being subjected to racism, homophobia, transphobia, religious oppression, intimidation, harassment, and disruption to their educational and emotional well-being at the hands of an incompetent and insulting school administrator.
Mayes’ actions over decades have demonstrated an irredeemable lack of cultural competence, an embarrassing lack of empathy, a long-term pattern of abuse of authority, and leadership failures that are absolutely unacceptable at any school, let alone a school of Manual’s caliber. This pattern of behavior is not only unethical and unbecoming of a high school principal, but in our opinion, also represents repeated violations of students’ rights under the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972. In accordance with JCPS’s Discrimination Grievance Procedure Handbook, we demand that JCPS put an end to Mayes’ troubled time as principal and restore Manual to an academic environment in which students, families, and faculty members can be heard, respected, supported, and free to be the special community that we all remember. It’s time for Mayes to go.
Resources for further examination:
- A compilation of Letters submitted Dear JCPS about Principal Mayes: http://dearjcps.com/dupont-manual-community-speaks-out/
- Manual’s Black Student Union Co-Founders’ Statement: https://medium.com/@bsufounders/an-open-letter-to-superintendent-pollio-30028a05229d?source=linkShare-e24bcb958dc7-1510721636
U.S. Department of Education Office for Civil Rights: https://www2.ed.gov/about/offices/list/ocr/index.html
JCPS Discrimination Grievance Procedure: https://www.jefferson.kyschools.us/sites/default/files/Discrimination%20Grievance%20Handbook.pdf
Additional Actions for Petition Signers:
If you wish to send an email to the board and superintendent about your experiences or concerns, you may use this link. If you wish to share your letter with Dear JCPS, you can use their Open Letter Form.
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