FAIRFIELD — Lawrence High School students plan to protest the departure of their principal, following an administrative shuffle by Superintendent Reza Namin that they said had not been communicated to them.

A Facebook page called “Lawrence Students Speak Out and Have Your Voice Heard” reported that there will be a walkout Wednesday after the morning announcements. Those participating plan to leave class around 7:55 a.m. and walk silently from the Williamson Center to Namin’s office across the parking lot.

“Wear black, let’s be silent to make a point,” states the post, which was made Tuesday morning.

Students are upset because they said they returned from April vacation Monday and their principal, Mark Campbell, was unexpectedly gone.

Lawrence High School is part of School Administrative District 49, which serves Fairfield, Albion, Benton and Clinton.

“I was freaked out when I heard,” said Bryn Mayo, a senior at Lawrence High School from Fairfield who has been involved with organizing the protest. “Mr. Campbell is great. I’ve gone through three and a half years with him. It’s almost a betrayal, because the people who got him out of his position didn’t ask us. It’s like they’re going behind our backs. There’s been no student or teacher opinion.”


Campbell voluntarily resigned Friday, according to Namin, the same day when the board of SAD 49 approved a financial settlement with him. The school’s Special Education Director Cory Rogers and Operations Director Cheryl Brackett also stepped down from their roles last week and are scheduled to receive settlement money. Namin said he would not release the terms of the settlements until the end of the week, when they are finalized. The departures of these three officials are part of Namin’s restructuring plan for SAD 49, which also includes eliminating the Lawrence Junior High School principal’s job and those of three assistant principals by July 1. It was approved by the school board in January. Namin said he expected the plan to save the district an estimated $113,000.

Lawrence High School Principal Mark Campbell in the school’s 2017 yearbook. Campbell resigned on Friday. 2017 Lawrence High School Lyre Yearbook

As of Tuesday afternoon, there had not been any emails or assemblies to inform students of the staffing changes, according to Mayo. She also said Campbell had not contacted the community at all.

“Teachers were told they cannot talk about it,” she said. “We had to figure out all of it on our own.”

Administrators in the high school’s main office, including Assistant Principal Karl Matulis and secretary Jan Rossignol, said the Morning Sentinel had to go through Namin for any information.

Namin did not respond to a call and an email seeking a response to the students’ plans to protest by press time.

Mayo said she hopes the walkout shows school leaders that “we value this issue … more than being in class.”


“We want to send the message that we’re tired of things being done behind the scenes … as the restructuring plan continues and as far into the future as this school goes,” she said.

Later Wednesday, at 2:15 p.m. in the high school’s auditorium, students plan to gather again to discuss plans to speak at a school board meeting Thursday.

Lawrence High School had an overall enrollment of 652 in the 2016-2017 school year, the latest data available from the National Center for Education Statistics.

The Facebook page, which was created on Monday, had 234 likes and 243 followers as of press time. Mayo said she expects students from all grades to participate in the walkout, but that there probably will be an especially strong turnout from the senior class because they have known Campbell the longest. Namin knows that students are planning to walk out.

“He knows and he suggested that we don’t do it and that we continue to meet in small groups instead,” Mayo said. “But at this point, that’s not effective enough.”

The school resource officer will be blocking off some of the entrances to protect students from traffic, Mayo added.

“He said, ‘I want to keep you guys safe. Where are you going to be, what are you going to need?'” she said.

The upcoming school board meeting is scheduled for 6:30 p.m. Thursday in the junior high’s multi-purpose room.

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