FAIRFIELD — Over 300 Lawrence High School students walked out of class and gathered outside the superintendent’s office to protest what they thought was a forced exit of a well-liked principal. A handful of them plan to voice frustrations with the district’s leadership at Thursday’s school board meeting.

About 20 students gathered in the auditorium after school Wednesday to solidify what they want from the board. Suggestions included seeking clearer protocols for staff alterations, questioning the costs and intentions of a district restructuring plan and pushing for the board’s chairwoman, Shelley Rudnicki, and vice chairman, Tim Martin, to step down from their roles and become regular members of the board.

“We have no confidence in their ability to represent us,” said junior Haley Hersey, a student representative on the school board and one of the leaders of Wednesday’s meeting.

Superintendent Reza Namin did not make an appearance at Wednesday morning’s protest. Students waited outside for about 45 minutes in muggy weather, holding signs with messages about having “no confidence” in Namin and the school board and urging them to “hear our frustration.”

“They’re trying to silence us, but we’re not going to be silenced,” said Carson Hersey, a junior who helped organize the walkout.

Lawrence High School is part of School Administrative District 49, which serves Fairfield, Albion, Benton and Clinton.

In January, the SAD 49 school board approved a restructuring plan spearheaded by Namin that included eliminating the jobs of principals of Lawrence High School and Lawrence Junior High School, three assistant principals and changing the titles and job descriptions of six other officials. Mark Campbell, principal of Lawrence High School, resigned Friday after the school board approved a financial settlement with him. Students were surprised to learn of his absence Monday and said they had not been told about his departure.

“Mr. Campbell wouldn’t walk unless he was forced out,” senior Nathan Lafreniere said. “We believe he was forced out.”

Rudnicki said she felt that it was not the school board’s responsibility to communicate the staffing changes to students.

“That’s an administrative role,” she said.

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