ST. LOUIS, Mo. — More than 200 students at Roosevelt High School marched out of school Monday morning in protest.It comes after the football coach and athletics director were fired last week for violating Saint Louis Public School District social media policy.
Coach Trey Porter says it came as a complete shock when he was terminated Wednesday by the St. Louis Public School District. Porter says he was only looking out for his player's best interest.
The students took to the streets Monday morning in protest holding signs and chanting bring coach Trey Porter back.
The students along with parents headed to the St. Louis Board of Education to meet with the superintendent to try and convince him to reverse his decision.
“We want the policy to change that teachers can’t contact the students through social media. It's more than just about football it's about a community,” said Ali Hall.
According to the St. Louis Public School District handbook, employees may not friend students on social media or use electronic media to communicate with students without approval from administrators and parents.
Superintendent Dr. Kelvin Adams met with the students and said he would discuss the student's and staff's concerns with the board of education.
“Coach Porter has been using the internet like all the coaches do it to let other colleges know I got a linebacker. He will let the D2 or D3 schools know about good kids,” said James Reece, student.
Coach Porter says after the recent violence among young people being shot and killed in St. Louis this year, he was trying to make sure they stay out of trouble.
“After the incident where a student was shot not too far from the game. I reached out to our kids we had a lot of kids that were hurt behind that and the kid got hit by a car and a kid got maced. I realized this is a time that I need to do everything I can to protect them,” said Trey Porter, Coach.
“He is a mentor and like a father; so more than just on the field, in the classrooms, he helped us with homework. He gives us study time and he had us dress up professionally on Wednesday and look and feel like winners if we did not have clothing he would provide it,” said Hall.
“We went above and beyond and it ended up costing me my job. Yes, I violated the policy but at the same time I did what I thought was best for the kids,” said Porter.
The district released a statement and it reads:
- We cannot comment on any specific personnel matter. However, our social media policies and any actions taken pursuant to those policies are consistent and in compliance with Missouri law, and designed to protect the safety and security of our students.
- Participating students: Roughly 150 to 200 students, the vast majority from Roosevelt and a handful from Cleveland. The Roosevelt football team has a few players who attend Cleveland.
- Adult supervision: Four staff members from Roosevelt (including the principal) walked with the students. There were also some parents, district safety officers, and police accompanying the students.
- Dr. Adams told students that he will discuss student and staff concerns with the Board of Education.
- A parent meeting with Dr. Adams is scheduled for Tuesday afternoon.
- A group of Roosevelt students plans to meet with Dr. Adams and Dr. Gale (network superintendent) to discuss culture/climate of Roosevelt as a whole: Date/time TBD.
- Dr. Adams said the district would review our social media policy.
- That said, there is also state law that dictates how school district (not specific to SLPS) employees contact students: Amy Hestir Student Protection Act