The Pepperbox

The Student News Site of Arcata High School

The Pepperbox

The Pepperbox

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Protests over Perry decision at Nohum School board meeting

Students, staff, and community members show support for principal Ron Perry during the April board meeting. (Sasha Love)


On Tuesday night, the Northern Humboldt Union High School District Board, teachers, and members of the community gathered in the Arcata High School library for the April board meeting.

The board recognized the public’s concern over the decision to re-assign Arcata High Principal Ron Perry. 

Board President Natalie Giannini said, reading from a statement written by the board, “We are legally prohibited from discussing the details of any and all personnel matters. The fact that we may not discuss personnel matters should not be interpreted as the board not caring. We do.”

Since the decision to reassign Perry to the classroom almost a month ago, many voiced frustration to the board. The Arcata High Site Council members, class officers, and members of the public wrote letters to the board addressing the matter, while a petition in support of Perry had garnered around 900 signatures by the time of the meeting. 

The audience, adorned in orange tassels, filled the room in support of Perry and lined up for public comment, which was extended beyond the regular 20 minutes to 40 mins–20 minutes for staff and 20 minutes for community members and students.  

Teachers spoke in support of Perry and expressed concern for the future of Arcata High.

“I think you need to think about the leadership, and how it might be failing if we are going through this many principals in such a short time,” history teacher Jennifer Rosebrook said.

Several speakers expressed distrust in the process and were skeptical of how the board proceeded. 

“In making a decision, the more facts you have, the more people you talk to, and the more time you have to make a decision, the better decision you make,”  Bert Van Duzer, Ron Perry’s former Arcata High Wrestling coach, said.

Those speaking during public comment raised concerns about the difficulty and expense of hiring new administrators in Humboldt.

“Where are you going to find someone as motivated and passionate as Ron? I think mediation needs to be looked at because we’re throwing away someone very spectacular,” retired elementary school teacher Joan Crandell said.

Student voices were also prominent throughout the meeting. Sophomore Class President John Adams emphasized student unease while sharing a letter signed by the class officers in support of Perry.

“We would like to recognize and thank Mr. Perry for his approachability, enthusiasm, and dedication towards making Arcata High a place where we feel welcome, respected, and educated. It surprises and saddens us to see his abrupt dismissal,” Adams said.

Board member JoAnn Moore did not comment on how the board handled the issue, but offered her support of the community’s engagement. 

“I think it’s always good to have the public give comments and information, and I’d like to see the public be more involved in school meetings on a more regular basis,” Moore said.

Conflict arose when open comment came to a close. The board attempted to move to the next agenda item, but these proceedings were interrupted by members of the public encouraging further comment on the topic. Board President Giannini called a recess. When the board and superintendent started to file out of the room, the audience shouted “respect the process” and “choose humility” at the exiting board members. Chanting “Perry, Perry” the audience formed a circle around Perry before many left the meeting.

When reached for comment, Perry expressed approval of the praise he received.

“I like it when people share positive comments. We should remain positive and take care of our students,” Perry said.

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About the Contributor
Sasha Love
Sasha Love, Feature Section Editor
Sasha Love is a Senior who enjoys doing a variety of art and writing and sampling out mediums and styles and is excited to get more involved in the school by writing for the Pepperbox. Sasha has been placed in the Redwood Writing Project for several years and her art has been displayed in the community during her time studying at AAI (Arcata Arts Institute). She loves being in nature and hanging out with friends. Running cross-country and mountain biking soothes her cravings for adventure. At school, her favorite subject is social studies and she wishes to continue these pursuits at university next year.
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