The Principal of West Brunswick High School, Brock Ahrens, announced Saturday morning during the WBHS's graduation ceremony that he will no longer be resigning.
During his speech to graduates, Superintendent Dr. Edward Pruden asked Ahrens not to resign. Ahrens then went to the podium and told the graduates and their families that he wanted to stand behind them and support them and would stay on as principal.
People inside the Odell Williamson auditorium broke out into applause when his decision was announced.
Friday, Ahrens had announced his plan to resign during a faculty meeting. He had said he was resigning in protest after the Brunswick County Board of Education made a decision to allow 18 students to graduate. The students had met all of the academic requirements needed for graduation, but not attendance requirements.
According to officials, the board learned of the issue on Thursday when parents of the students called to complain that they were informed that their kids could not graduate.
With commencement happening Saturday, the board decided to poll members over the phone on whether the students could graduate or not. While not all members agreed, they ultimately voted to let the students walk.
"The Brunswick County vision and mission statement says we are preparing kids to be college and career ready, but we didn't do that today and we are not doing that tomorrow," Ahrens said Friday regarding the Board's decision.
"In essence of time, it was very important that a decision be reached regarding whether these students had met academic requirements necessary to participate in the commencement exercise," said Brunswick Co. Schools Spokesperson Jessica Swencki.
The board considers the issue resolved but will now look into the attendance procedures of each school in the county because the issue has opened their eyes to the inconsistencies with each schools' policies.
According to officials, the county has its own attendance guidelines, but schools are allowed to have their own expectations when it comes to attendance.
"I truly believe that we are there to educate the whole child. We're not just there to educate him in math and reading," said Ahrens Friday. "We are there to educate him in manners, his character, his citizenship. And yes, his attendance, because if he's not on time to work, he's not going to have that job. If he doesn't go to college and misses three or four days in a row, they are going to drop him and they are still going to collect that money."
The board will now work to make those guidelines more uniform.
"I think it's important that as a next step we really take a close look at the procedures that each of our high schools are following with regards to the implementation of the board's attendance policy to make sure our procedures are consistent," Swencki said.
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