‘Silence is violence’: Parents call on Nathanael Greene administrator to resign after mishandling of lockdown
PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WLNE) — Parents at Nathanael Greene Middle School united Thursday to call on an administrator to resign after the mishandling of a lockdown last week.
The protest comes just one day after Providence Mayor Jorge Elorza called for the firing of the school’s principal.
The mayor criticized principal Dr. Demetri Sermons for calling a school administrator first instead of police.
“It is unacceptable that it took so long to act and that the first call was not to the police department but to a school administrator,” wrote Elorza.
The school was put into lockdown at just after 1 p.m. on May 26th, after there were reports of a possibility of a gun. No calls were made to Providence Police until about 2:30 p.m. This all while two police officers were stationed outside, monitoring the school over violence concerns in the school, as the May 26 incident was the latest in a long line of safety concerns at the middle school. Parents have been left worried about letting their kids even go into the building.
“I’m uneasy I’m uncomfortable. My son should be going to this school next year. I will not be sending him,” said Alexandrea Gonzalez, a concerned parent protesting outside the school.
“I don’t believe that you should be managing a school where there’s a possibility of a firearm being on the premises and you don’t know to notify law enforcement for 90 minutes,” added Machiste Rankin, another parent protesting.
Elorza also called for Rhode Island Department of Education Commissioner Angélica Infante-Green to review the incident with the entire school community.
A joint statement from Superintendent Dr. Javier Montañez and Providence Teachers Union President Maribeth Calabro said that while they agree that school security is the top priority, they disagree with the summary the mayor gave on the lockdown.
“We’ve seen our district sidetracked too many times over disagreements between elected officials and educators — every time students are the ones that suffer,” the statement read in part.