Students at Haliburton Highlands Secondary School are planning a walk out to protest the transfer of their Vice Principal, Mr. Wood. On January 22 one of the students started a Facebook group called “Get Mr. Wood Back”. According to the students, and a few adults who commented on the page, Mr. Wood is being transferred to a new school for a “fresh start”. His son also turned to the group to post this:

“The superintendent has told my dad that he is being transferred to a new school for a “new start”. It is not hard to grasp that this is due to the rough events he had to deal with at the beginning of the school year. Of course he is upset that is a no brainer! He loves this school and everybody in it. He is being told to leave, without any say on his part, half way through the semester which is not regular. This is an unfair to him and he wants to stay at HHSS just as much as we want him here. Nobody is asking you to join if you are on the fence. We don’t need skeptics! This is for people who truly want my dad at this school!”

Over 350 students and community members are a part of the group who are discussing ways to keep their beloved Vice Principal. They’ve even branched out to Twitter, starting the hashtag #bringMrWoodBack which they’ve been sending to the Trillium Lakelands District School Board’s Director of Education, Larry Hope. As of yesterday, he hasn’t responded to any of the messages.

In a call with the school board’s Communications Manager, Catherine Shedden, Moose FM learned that Wood is being transferred to Ridgewood Public School. Shedden says it’s not uncommon to have mid-year transfers as the school board frequently reviews the needs of area schools.

When asked if Wood was given the option to stay or be transferred, Shedden says she can’t speak to this case specifically.

Ever since the Facebook group was created, students have been posting their feelings about the decision, saying it’s absolutely the wrong decision.

Many people are also commenting on the group that they’re disappointed with the school board because parents weren’t told about the change.

One student wrote that he doesn’t feel the school board knows how to handle teenage students and he’s lost a lot of respect for them. He goes on to write:

“Mr. Wood, has proven time and time again throughout his semester of being vice principal that he deserves to be here. The man is a leader and a role model to many students in the school. He’s done more to help kids here in this semester than any single person/member trying to give him a “fresh start” has ever even thought of doing for us students. He cares about our overall well being and growth as a person. I personally don’t have a problem with any of the staff at Hal high, I think were lucky to have the people we do looking out for us. As a whole our staff is amazing at what they do and how they take on the tasks and problems at our school. Many of them, such as Mr. Wood in this case, go out of their way to help the students out. I just don’t understand how these people (higher ups) can go around ruining the high school experience for a generation of young adults, by taking away their sports and their leaders/role models. They lower the esteems and morale of the student body more then any other “problem” in my opinion. How’s our generation supposed to thrive when the only good role models we have are taken away from us just as fast! Honestly it’s a joke, they should give their head a shake!”

Students were also posting the email addresses for the Director of Education as well as our local MPP, Laurie Scott, encouraging one another to raise their concerns in a peaceful manner.

The walk out is planned for the first day of second semester, Monday February 2nd. According to the group’s creator, it will happen when the first period bell rings and all the students will gather in the cafeteria and stay there for the remainder of the day.