Story at a glance:

  • Ben Nakamura was the principal of Stagg High School until his district laid him off due to budget constraints.
  • The district’s board of trustees voted 4-3 against Nakamura, who reapplied for his job.
  • One board trustee was confused as to why Nakamura was denied his return as principal despite his favorability.

In Stockton, Calif., a former high school principal told his students how he got fired. Afterwards, he was removed by the police at the school's graduation ceremony and told he was banned from attending future ceremonies.

Stagg High School Principal Ben Nakamura told students on graduation day that the board of trustees voted 4-3 to fire him, something he classified as ignoring the will of the community, reported ABC 10.


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“The Board of Trustee, this past Tuesday, voted three to four to remove me as your principal, and not listen to the community, nor the students, nor the family, nor the staff at Stagg High School,” Nakamura told graduating students.

Nakamura was scheduled to give three speeches during a set of graduation ceremonies, but it was briefly cut short after some parents found the first speech “disturbing.”

“Mr. Nakamura made a four to five minute speech, and [our] parents called us concerned. They said some of the things that he said [were] inappropriate, that he was talking about his own grievances,” Melinda Meza, a spokesperson for Stockton Unified School District and former anchor for KCRA, a local NBC-affiliate in Sacramento, Calif., said. 

The school’s district, Stockton Unified School District, is also experiencing employee layoffs, and Nakamura was given a heads up in March that he would no longer have his position due to budget cuts. Nakamura accepted his dismissal and reapplied for the job, but the majority of the trustees voted against him.

Board trustee and campaign director for progessive news outlet Daily Kos Candelaria Vargas said she does not understand why the board voted no when Nakamura has won the confidence of most parents and students.


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Published on Jun 01, 2021