POLICE intervened in a protest at Penglais School, Aberystwyth, last week following the sacking of a popular teacher.
It was reported in the Cambrian News that the secondary school’s head of art, Richard Edwards, had been sacked for gross misconduct following a disciplinary hearing on Friday, 1 July, despite a petition to save his job gaining more than 1,400 signatures.
Instead of going to their first timetabled classes, around 80 pupils staged a walk-out on the school playing fields in a show of protest at the decision.
Police, who say they happened to be at the school for an unrelated matter, spoke to the pupils who were protesting on the school field.
A video which appeared on social media on Thursday shows a large group of pupils on the school playing fields fleeing as two uniformed police officers walked towards them.
In a letter sent to parents following the protest, headmaster Matthew Brown said pupils were invited to the Main Hall to discuss their concerns with the chair of school governors, Richard John, and senior members of staff.
One parent claimed that protesting pupils had been threatened with suspension and told the Cambrian News: “This is about freedom of speech — they have every right to be upset, Mr Edwards was a really good teacher. They are all very passionate about it.
“I feel quite strongly about it because I know this teacher has brought out the confidence in my daughter. He wrote a comment on her art work that was so positive. They would enjoy going to school because of him. I’m so gutted he was sacked.”
A Penglais School spokesperson said: “At 9am Thursday morning a group of approximately 80 pupils held a protest regarding the reported dismissal of Mr Edwards, Head of Art.
“Instead of going to lessons these pupils went to the school field. Mr Brown, the Headteacher, spoke with the pupils and listened to their concerns.
“Unfortunately, the group then proceeded to walk around the school disturbing lessons, causing some concern amongst some pupils and staff."