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Hundreds rally for suspended Catskill teacher, principal

Mar 04, 2024 8:45 am

Hundreds of students, parents, and community members rallied on March 3 and March 4 in support of a suspended teacher and principal at Catskill High School. Some students began the protests on March 1, walking out of classes because they wanted Principal Junait Shah and chorus teacher and musical director Michelle Storrs-Ryan to be reinstated. To many in the community the issue is baffling. Last month, Storrs-Ryan teased students that if they did not get quiet, she was going to get out some tape. Then a student, as a joke, put tape on her own mouth for about 30 seconds. A student later complained to Shah about the incident, who saw no reason to take any action. But word of the incident got to those above Shah, and the teacher and principal were suspended. Sara Pickens Verdon, president of the Catskill Music Parent-Student Association, told Porcupine Soup that Shah and Storrs have also been asked to resign. Superintendent Dr. Dan Wilson would only say that, “any personnel matters are confidential and therefore the district is not at liberty to discuss the specifics of the investigation.” On March 3, hundreds of community members marched from the Greene County Office Building in Catskill to the school, fully covering the sidewalk on the Uncle Sam Bridge along the way. They surrounded the superintendent's office, holding hands, and chanting. PLAY OR DOWNLOAD BRIEF EXCERPT OF THE RALLY HERE. On March 4, more community members turned out as the school day began at 7 a.m., and many students remained on the lawn in front of the school for several hours, defiantly not attending class in support of their teacher and principal. Wilson attempted to address the crowd there, before the school day began. PLAY OR DOWNLOAD BRIEF EXCERPT OF WILSON SPEAKING HERE.