The 17-year-old president of the school’s Student Union received praise from classmates, parents and alumni for his leadership in the ongoing push to oust Jahoda as interim acting principal.
“What I’ve seen is a solidified stance that we are concerned for the school environment and the changes that are happening,” Chen said. “This is not simply about teachers. This is not simply about students, but what students as a whole are seeing about the school.
“Because we see such a detrimental effect interim acting principal Jahoda has on our school, we need change right away,” he added.
Chen drew attention when he stood up to the deputy superintendent during her visit, when the students staged a sit-in protest against Jahoda. The video was live-streamed and viewed more than 1,000 times on YouTube.
“Ms. Pineiro used very verbally aggressive language,” Chen said, referring to Deputy Superintendent Leticia Pineiro. “Students felt intimidated. Students felt they were being bullied by this adult, this school official they’ve never heard from.”
Though Chen said Jahoda has never treated him bad personally, he’s seen friends and classmates who have been “affected” by the apparent change in the school’s learning environment.
“It shows that our school, we do take a stance and we are unified,” Chen said. “We can solidify when the times call for it. We stand up for each other and we do not let down when somebody is standing up.”