Students Protest School Removing Teacher

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Sunbright, Morgan County (WVLT) - Classes in Morgan County Schools were in session Tuesday, but many high school students weren't.

More than 100 students protested all day outside Sunbright High School.

They're upset because the school board isn't giving head football coach and teacher Curtis Newberry tenure. He must have that in order to teach there next year.

As Volunteer TV's Mike McCarthy found out, the students just want to know why.

The students outside Sunbright High School may be quiet, but their message is loud and clear.

No coach. No school.

"Sometimes in life you've got to stand up for what you believe in. That's what we're doing," Senior Tony Papple and more than half of the student body cut class to protest since seven this morning.

Signs and t-shirts show they want head football and baseball coach Curtis Newberry around next year.

But it's not just students.

"We feel like we've been treated unfair. We feel like it's a personal conflict. We feel like it's politics. We feel like this man has not been given justice," says parent Robin Murrell.

Last month, the school board denied Newberry tenure.

"My conflict is apparently with someone on the school board or in the board office," Newberry says the school principal recommended him for the honor he must get to keep teaching at the school. But at the same meeting Newberry expected celebration cake, "About five minutes before the meeting ended, they took a recess and that's when they told me my name had been pulled from the list."

Now Newberry, his students, and community are all asking the same question.

"I don't really see what the reason is. They won't give us a reason," says Junior Ashton Bryge.

But every student here has a reason he should stay.

"I was struggling in math and he took his time out of his day after school, when he wasn't being paid, and he stayed and helped me study," Bryge says.

Memories that have made a difference to both the students and the man they loving just call coach.

Newberry says he's the first teacher ever to be denied tenure after receiving a principal recommendation.

We made multiple phone calls to the Morgan County Schools Central Office and also stopped by.

But director of schools Mike Davis wasn't able to talk with us.

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