Vestavia Hills HIgh School students protest principal’s removal

Students protest for principal

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WBRC) - Today about a hundred Vestavia Hills High students came out to protest the removal of their principal.

Friday, the Board of Education voted to move Tyler Burgess to become principal of remote learning.

They don’t understand why this change was made. They don’t understand why it’s being done now. Parents and students say Tyler Burgess is “loved and respected.” They believe he should be leading the high school especially now with the uncertainty of COVID-19.

About a hundred Vestavia Hills High schools students; current and former students came to chant and protest around the flag pole Monday afternoon. Their goal is trying to get the board to bring back Principal Tyler Burgess.

“This is my community and it will always be my home and I want this school to have the best leadership possible. I know Dr. Burgess is the best option for this school,” say James Holland Brittle, protest organizer and recent graduate.

Jeff Tenner owns Soca Clothing in Homewood. His 16-year-old son goes to Vestavia Hills High School and Tenner says he believes Burgess is needed as leader for his son’s education in these uncertain times due to the coronavirus.

“At this time of such great uncertainty and upheaval, everybody is trying to grasped what normalcy they can and having the principal three weeks before school starts makes no sense,” Tenner said.

A former student urged the students to continue to push for Burgess return and to not graduate unless he is their principal.

“He is the symbol of the community. There is a lot of things going on right now. I think everyone in Vestavia can agree on is how much we love and we want to show him support,” Rachel Hall, Vestavia Hills High School senior said.

One parent said Burgess “raised his hand” when asked who could do the remote learning job. Still, Parents believe someone else would be eligible for the job.

VHHS Superintendent Todd Freeman released a statement:

“The Board of Education and I fully support our high school students who respectfully expressed their support and appreciation for Dr. Tyler Burgess. I appreciate how much our students value the influence he had on them while serving as principal of Vestavia Hills High School. The students at Vestavia Hills High School today affirmed the rich tradition of love and spirit that has made the school a special place for many years.

One of the challenges we face this upcoming school year is to ensure every student in our system has a quality, meaningful educational experience whether they attend in person or remotely. Dr. Burgess will provide valuable leadership for the teachers and almost 1,300 students who will participate in our Remote Learning Model. The entire VHCS administrative team remains committed to providing every student the opportunity to learn without limits, and we will continue moving forward with that mission in mind.” Freeman said.

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