Richland Center High School students stage walkout against teacher’s contract non-renewal

RICHLAND CENTER, Wis. — Dozens of students at Richland Center High School staged a walkout for the second day in a row Friday, upset over the school’s decision not to renew the contract of a popular teacher.

Richland Center school officials confirmed Mark Chambers, who teaches history at Richland Center High School, did not have his contract renewed for the next school year.

The decision is leaving students such as Ashton Wallace, a senior at Richland Center High School, stunned and frustrated.

“It shows what little respect they have for the children and the kids at the school district considering that he is one of our best, and to just cast him off to the side, it shows how they feel about us,” explained Wallace.

Richland Center High School junior Amelia Johnsrud said the message of Friday’s protest was a simple one: allow Chambers to continue teaching.

“If it’s not his teaching, then what is it? He’s so important to every single person in this community. There should be no reason he should eliminated from this district,” said Johnsrud. “Start listening. Start listening to the community. Start listening to your students.”

Richland Center School Official Bennie Green, responded to News 3 Now with the following statement regarding the non-renewal of Mark Chambers’ contract:

  1. First and foremost, this has been a difficult situation for our District.  Our school Board will do all that it can to foster healing and understanding as we move forward.
  2. Our children are our highest priority.  To be true to that mission, however, we have to consider difficult questions and, at times, make hard decisions.  
  3.  We can confirm that the Board of Education for the Richland School District declined to renew Mr. Chambers’s teaching contract.
  4. State law requires that a school board hold a “private conference” to nonrenew a teacher’s contract.  We do not have the luxury of being able to disclose information from an employee’s private conference, even if they choose to publicize that information themselves.  We are responsible for preserving the integrity of that process
  5. We understand that there generally will be public records requests in this type of situation.  We welcome those requests and will process them as soon as they are received.