VESTAVIA HILLS, Ala. (WIAT) — Hundreds of Vestavia Hills High School students stood outside the school doors Monday, protesting for the recent move of the school’s principal.
Around 1:30 p.m., students and supporters of the school’s former principal, Dr. Tyler Burgess, met outside the school to show support for their principal who has been moved due to a Board of Education decision. Students in masks with signs that read “Dr. B is the Goat” and “Bring Burgess Back” chanted together in support of the leadership Burgess exuded while serving as the school’s principal.
James Hollandbrittle, the organizer of the protest and 2020 graduate from VHHS, said he put this event together after learning of the move Burgess is making for the 2020-2021 school year. Hollandbrittle said he and other students learned that the Board of Education announced Burgess will be moving from Vestavia High School as principal to the virtual school principal as many schools move to take classes online during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“We know that we might not be able to get him back because of our protest, but we wanted to show our support for Dr. Burgess because he’s done so much for us,” Hollandbrittle said.
The Vestavia Hills City Schools Superintendent Dr. Todd Freeman released a statement in response to Burgess’ supporters.
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.Superintendent Dr. Todd Freeman