Students rally behind popular teacher

 

By Joel Charron

After learning that a popular physical education teacher is being moved from his position, General Amherst students are taking it upon themselves to try and get the school to reverse its decision.

Students Christine Belcher and Katie Breault have been circulating a petition protesting the department shake-up at the school noting how it could negatively impact students.

Jeff Miller, who has a Bachelor of Science in Health and Physical Education, has been teaching phys-ed for approximately 10 years at the school.

Taking over Miller’s position is Amherst teacher Craig Lohnes, who has taught science at the school for approximately 11 years.

“This is a contractual issue,” said General Amherst principal Mary Edwards, who declined to comment further on the topic.

 

Katie Breault and Christine Belcher are just two of several students who are outraged about the General Amherst phys-ed department shake up.

Miller will still teach at General Amherst next year. However, his role within the phys-ed department will cease.

Miller declined to comment on the situation, however the students were quick to defend their teacher.

“We feel this is an unfair rule,” said Breault. “We don’t think this is right and the students here are going to be the ones that suffer.”

Breault believes future enrollment in the physical education department and participation in sports teams could be negatively impacted as Miller currently plays a major role in both.

“Miller coaches a lot of the sports teams here,” stated Breault. “He plays a major role in our school.”

Belcher claims that Miller is the reason that General Amherst has experienced the success it has in girls’ volleyball.

“People will say it’s the players, but he has brought a team to OFSAA seven years in a row,” stated Belcher. “There is no one player that has been here seven years.”

Belcher said Miller has always had a knack for getting students who aren’t “into sports” involved in phys-ed.

“Miller always finds ways to get people involved,” she said.

On discovering Miller’s situation Belcher and Breault agreed they were “very upset” and decided to take action by circulating a petition.

In just 24 hours, the pair had collected just over 200 signatures, from mostly students. Although, they plan to venture into the community to gather more.

“He’s done so much for us. He’s made us both into university volleyball players,” said Belcher. “This – the petition – is something we have to do.”

Belcher and Breault insist they have nothing against Lohnes, but agree they are supporting Miller.

“He (Lohnes) is a good guy and a good teacher,” said Belcher. “We just don’t support what’s going on.”

All calls to Lohnes and the Ontario Secondary School Teachers’ Federation had gone unanswered by press time.

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