Willard High School choir protests removal of their teacher

Published: Apr. 10, 2018 at 9:42 PM CDT
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A local community is outraged over a beloved choir teacher kicked out of the classroom.

Willard High School has been without its award winning choir teacher for about 2 weeks, sparking a protest.

Jerry Scott has been with the district for years. When he was placed on paid leave last month students were heartbroken.

Mikayla Westburg with the help of her mother started an online petition to get him back.

She and a large group of the teacher's supporters marched from the high school to the district offices to let the school board know how they feel before their meeting Tuesday night.

"We want Scott! We want Scott! We want Scott," chanted dozens of demonstrators.

"He would fight for you so I feel like he deserves for us to do the same for him," said Westberg.

The students had the support of their parents other adults as they marched.

"I want the adults to know we are serious about our education and about our futures. Whenever that is put in jeopardy in anyway, whether that is a teacher or a misunderstood situation, we are not going to stand for it," Westberg.

Scott was placed on paid leave in March. The reason why is unclear to the students and community.

"The students have, after many rumors, have come to the conclusion that it was probably small town politics," she said.

District officials aren't saying much about the situation. It's being handled as a private, personnel matter.

"The school board looks at all of our patrons equally. Of course, we're going to look at all avenues to make sure that we're doing what's best for our kids," said school board president Kip Baker.

Scott's wife, Vicky Scott, a music instructor at Missouri State University, posted a message to the online petition. It says that her husband has not done anything illegal or immoral and that Scott was put on leave over a concern that was already handled by administration officials.

"No matter what the outcome you have made a difference for him," said Vicky Scott.

She attended Tuesday's protest and addressed her husband's students.

"There is one more message that I am supposed to give to you and that is do not jeopardize your future with your actions in the next weeks," she said.

The students are hoping for Scott to get his job back soon.

"I can't picture any other outcome because it's the right outcome for him to be back with us. If we don't get that then we are a stronger choir together and we have had the love of Mr. Scott for our whole high school careers," said Westberg.

The students sat in on Tuesday's school board meeting though Jerry Scott's employment was not on the agenda.

No final decisions have been made on whether or not to keep him on staff.

Scott has requested a public hearing with the board. That's when all of the information about why he was put on leave will be made public.

It has yet to be scheduled.

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