Nearly 160 students in San Diego High’s School of International Studies spent their lunch break protesting the departure of the school’s principal Tuesday.
Kirk Ankeney was placed on administrative leave about a month ago from the school and Carol Whaley, a temporary principal, will take his place, according to SDUSD Spokesman Jack Brandais.
Brandais could not comment on the reason for Ankeney’s leave, since it is a private personnel matter. In a previous report, Brandais said Ankeney would be on leave for the rest of the school year, but he later corrected himself and said he could not say for how long Ankeney will be on leave.
“The School of International Studies is an outstanding school,” Brandais said. “I hope they will be able to finish on a positive note and not let something like this distract them.”
Nearly all of the school’s 500 students were expected to participate in a silent protest during their lunch break at about 11:30 a.m. Tuesday. About 180 attended.
Students say Ankeney is a "father figure" and are demanding to know the reason for his leave.
"We have a really tight-knit community," said Sophomore and the protest's co-organizer Eric Cramer.
Ankeney's leave was especially hard for the school's seniors, who often came to him for college and career advice, Cramer said.
"He knows each of us by name," Cramer said.
San Diego High School has six schools. Ankeney was the principal of two of those schools -- International Studies and Art
Ankeney has been a principal at the school since 2009, according to the school’s website. One of his sons attends the International School.
Ed. Note: An earlier version of this story quoted Cramer as saying the school "is one of the smallest in the whole high school." The school is the largest on the school's campus.