JT Teacher Speaks Out Against Principal

Freedom of the Press is a basic right Quantalane Henry has taught her journalism students. But she says that right has been taken away from them over the past two years.

Piles of letters and emails document the censorship Principal Dr. Aubrey Todd has imposed on the student newspaper. Todd reiterates multiple times that the Lion's Tale may not go to press without his approval.

"He's really afraid of the truth being printed," Henry said.

Todd's response: "As principal of the school, what I do is try to work with the paper to present the school in a positive light."

Therefore, Henry says, outsiders never get to see the negative aspects of John Tyler High School.

She says Todd has threatened to replace her, if she doesn't follow his rules.

"Many teachers have been dictated to, rather than told to sit down at the table of discussion," Henry said.

It's a reality, Henry says, many people in the community do not see, but instead, blame Todd's reassignment on racism.

"I truly believe racism had not anything to do with this decision," Henry said. "Superintendent David Simmons is about pursuing excellence and making every campus an exemplary campus."

Henry says no one from the African-American community has talked to her to get the inside story.

"It's as if they have blinders on and they don't want to face the truth," she said.

Henry's students, including African-Americans, also believe Todd's reassignment is long overdue.

"He's done a lot for John Tyler, I mean academic-wise. He has," Valencia Golden, a staff writer for the student paper, said. "But as far as student organizations and hearing the students' voices, he has done nothing but hurt us."

"I'm fed up," Kennis Bell, the layout and design editor for the paper, said. "It's time for a change. It really is."

They're all looking toward the new principal, Michael Mcfarland, to make John Tyler a better place.

Julie Tam, reporting.