MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Hamilton High School students marched out of school on Tuesday holding signs and raising their voices.
“Keep our principal. Keep our principal,” students shouted.
The protest came after the Shelby County School District sent home a letter to parents explaining Principal Curtis Weathers was getting the boot.
“He gave me a second chance of going back to school,” Farris Haley, an 11th-grade student said.
Like Haley, other students told WREG Weathers saved their lives.
“I had stopped going to school because I had to help my mother,” Haley recalled.
Haley said he got into a world of trouble and fell into the wrong crowds while out of school.
Haley claimed if it was not for Weathers, he would still be “in the streets trying to hustle.”
Students said the principal made a difference in all of their lives and turned the school around.
“Academics, culture, and in discipline,” Caleb Fair said.
Shelby County School officials said Weathers simply did not have what it took to continue leading the school.
“He had a waiver last year specifically from the governor that he could be a principal under the waiver, but moving forward that is no longer the case,” Reginald Porter, Chief of Staff with Shelby County Schools, said.
Parents we spoke with claimed the district was bitter after Weathers attempted to convert Hamilton High School into a charter school, but failed to get the required amount of signatures.
Students said they want the district to do right by them and hear their concerns.
“We aren’t okay with that but we are trying to say the next principal that does come has big shoes to fill,” said Fair.
The students told WREG they are planning on taking their concerns to a Shelby County School Board meeting next week to let district leaders know how they feel.