Students protest absence of drama teacher


Drama club students protest in the 900 hundred wing outside of the parent meeting on Nov. 14.

Protesting the alleged rumors that their drama teacher, Ms. Amelia Figg-Franzoi, was asked to resign, students and Drama Club members congregated outside of Room 902, concerned about the fate of their drama teacher,  Figg-Franzoi’s employment, and the fate of the winter musical as well as the scheduled spring play. The meeting was meant to be held for parents concerned about the future of Drama Club productions, but quickly became a space where students shared their concerns for Figg-Franzoi and the future of Drama Club as a whole.

“This is a community that one person brought together, and that is larger than any one that I’ve been a part of. [The protest] brought tears to my eyes because it was the most beautiful sight I’ve ever seen,” Maisie Allen, junior, said. “At first I didn’t like [the administration’s reaction], but I was understanding because I know they couldn’t say things because of the legalities.”

“It was obviously really emotional, and it was amazing to see all of the parents band together. Some of their kids weren’t even in drama, but they all really passionate about this and really wanted Ms. Figg to stay. Parents went so far as to cancel plans so they could attend the meeting, like one woman was running a concert and she cancelled and found a replacement so she could be there and she hasn’t had a student in high school in over four years. I thought it was ridiculous that [administration] couldn’t tell us anything. I felt we should know a little bit at least. I understand why they can’t say anything, but I don’t think they are handling this correctly,” Camryn Reid, senior drama club member, said.

Figg-Franzoi was last with her students on Saturday, Nov. 4 when she was accompanied by Principal Brett Bowers to the One Act Sectional Competition. That same night, she was missing from the annual AFS Variety Show. From then on, Figg-Franzoi has been absent from class. According to a letter sent to parents by Bowers, “her absence will continue; thus, we are postponing musical tryouts and will be adjusting the Fine Arts calendar to push back performance dates correspondingly.”

Students interested in performing in the musical and troubled by the whereabouts of their teacher attended the meeting and voiced their concerns.

“We rallied all the parents and students together to go to the meeting in Room 902. We have been contacting alumni and students at Homestead to get their parents to come to this meeting, and we got about twenty parents to come. Some parents weren’t able to come, but we told them to call administration and email or do whatever they can to let them know their feelings about what was going on,” Renee Schwarz, senior and drama club co-president, said.

“Personally, I protested for Ms. Figg because I think she’s an amazing teacher. She’s very good at her job, and she’s an asset to this school district. I’ve also worked with her before, and she’s only been very amazing for me,” Zack Zens, sophomore, said.

Initially, students were planning to sit outside of the room as a sign of peaceful protest and show their support for Figg-Franzoi. But then, Bowers let them come into the room and allowed them to speak their opinions about what was happening and ask questions about what was going on.

“I thought the meeting was fantastic, but I don’t think the administration was attentive. Students were pouring their hearts out crying. These are students that have changed what they want to do because off Ms. Figg there are so many theatre majors because of Ms. Figg. But, I feel like [the administration] doesn’t care,” Silma Berrada, senior and drama club co-president, said.

Related to Figg-Franzoi’s absence, a Facebook page has been created by an unknown source, and has a following of over 350 people. In the page, parents, alumni and students are voicing their concerns and wrote comments in support of Figg-Franzoi.

At the time, no decisions have been made about the future of the drama club productions and on Figg-Franzoi’s return. In her absence, Ms. Kristen Houge, choir teacher, and Mrs. Angelina Cicero, English teacher, are accompanying the One Act class to Whitewater this weekend for their state competition, and all upcoming productions have been postponed until further notice.

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