Black Student Union’s call for a sit-in at duPont Manual

The Black Student Union at duPont Manual High School held a 1960s sit-in Tuesday morning demanding that principal Jerry Mayes resign immediately over inappropriate and demeaning comments he made to students of color and a transgender student.

Jerry Mayes

As Insider Louisville first reported last week, Mayes was reprimanded by a Jefferson County Public Schools administrator for disparaging comments made to African-American students in a recorded conversation. In a statement to Insider, Mayes apologized “for this mistake on my part.”

In addition to the letter of reprimand to JCPS said it would conduct “a comprehensive culture and climate audit” of the school, in addition to having “an outside entity conduct an independent review of the recent allegations shared with the district.”

Even so, the union that organized the peaceful sit-in said it was impossible for students to endure “more of Mayes’ verbal abuse” because they felt insecure in their learning environment.

They said their student action was inspired by the “Greensboro Four who courageously sat in at a Woolworth lunch counter, protesting racial segregation and public accommodation.”

In the social flyer the group posted announcing the sit-in, organizers said, “We call for the immediate removal of Jerry Mayes from the duPont Manual High School,” and ended with the hashtag #notmyprincipal.

In a tweet, Jess Martel, editor in chief of the Crimson, posted photos of the line of students awaiting tardy notes after the sit-in, writing, “This is what #JCPS doesn’t want you to see about #Manual.”

Former Manual student Casey Hoke tweeted his support for the students yesterday. Hoke recently wrote an open letter recounting how Mayes asked him about his body and his genitals as a transgender male.

This post may be updated.

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