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Editorial Board

Students should be applauded

It’s the principal of it.

Last week, more than 400 Hudson high schoolers walked out of classes to protest the ousting of a popular principal. We applaud these students’ desire to use the democratic process in hopes of bringing about change.

High school is a pressure cooker waiting to burst. These young adults searching for identity and yearning for freedom often are tempted to release the pressure in unconstructive ways. But standing up for an issue, or in this case an administrator, they believe in is something we can all applaud.

High school civics classes often begin with a mention of the Revolutionary War, where Americans overthrew their tyrannical government through a number of means, many peaceful. Samuel Adams, Benjamin Franklin, Thomas Paine, among others, are remembered as heroes. The students’ response is therefore laudable.

According to a story by The Associated Press, Principal Roger Howard of Hudson High School received his first negative review in his 20-year career.

“District officials cited his most recent evaluation, which faulted Howard for being deficient in various areas,” the story said.

It doesn’t make sense that an administrator who received positive reviews for his first two years at Hudson would be terminated for a couple of weak spots. The Hudson School Board needs to better explain the situation, and it must have an acceptable reason for the termination. If not, students have more than enough reason to raise questions and demonstrate.

Something that any protester should remember is the need to stick to peaceful methods, embodied in Mahatma Ghandi’s resistance in India. Students throwing snowballs, pop bottles and derogatory epithets at law enforcement does little to advance the cause.

With the recent John S. and James L. Knight study released showing high school students’ misinformed opinion of the First Amendment, this protest is a refreshing anomaly. Many of those students who responded to the survey said the press has gone too far and should be censored more by the government.

This disheartening data shows clearly that high school students are not being taught the importance of the First Amendment, something all civics courses should do. The Hudson High School students, however, seem to understand it completely.

Students at Hudson have mobilized even further and are using a Web site, www.recalltheboard.org, to solidify the pro-Howard movement. According to a story in The Plain Dealer, students behind the Web site hope to gather enough signatures to recall the Hudson School Board (which is against Ohio law) or petition the Statehouse to change that law.

It’s amazing to think of students appreciating an administrator, especially a principal, to the point of demonstrating to save his job. This should send two messages loud and clear to the Hudson School Board: Students do care, and they don’t give up easily.

The above editorial is the consensus opinion of the Daily Kent Stater editorial board, whose members are listed to the left.