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Montana students allege abuse from teacher, want help from administration

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Posted at 7:05 AM, Apr 10, 2024

HARDIN - A walkout was held at Hardin High School after a teacher is disciplined for allegedly hitting a student.

Students held a peaceful protest and had all kinds of support from the Crow tribe, parents, other students and a teacher on Tuesday afternoon.

They say they get poor treatment from one of their teachers without any action from school administrators.

“We've had issues with one certain faculty member,” said Lola Andres, a junior at the high school.

“He lets his emotions play out his actions and he needs to control that,” said Shelby Steward, also a junior.

They point to an incident that allegedly happened at an AAU wrestling event in Lockwood last month.

“I wasn’t there personally,” said Nate Goodluck, a senior. "But there were reports of child abuse at a tournament.”

Adults also came out in support of the students.

“The intimidation from staff, the bullying, from staff to staff,” Crow Tribal Chair Frank Whiteclay said about concerns.

Whiteclay is an alumnus of Hardin High School and has children and other relatives in the school district.

“There's a lot of things that are going on with the administration that needs to change,” said Jason Shigley, a parent.

“If you want it and you and you are actually concerned that there are so many ways for you to say listen to me,” said Able Baker, who says he resigned because of the problems.

Hardin Public School superintendent Tobin Novasio says the students are protesting a personnel issue.

He says the school district has done an investigation and disciplined the teacher.

He would neither confirm nor deny the name of the teacher mentioned by students and parents.

While he did not want to go on camera, Novaiso did make a statement about the protest.

“The kids are getting bad advice from adults if they want to make a meaningful change,” Novasio said about the demonstration.

He suggested going through the student council, the principal, and himself the superintendent.

Novasio says he wants to be responsive and will meet in the future and even talk to students before the rally.

“He said there needs to be files that he's done this conduct before,” Nate Goodluck, a senior, said about what Novasio said at the meeting.

One of the students was suspended for posting about the rally on social media.

"I am the only one that got OSS, out-of-school suspension, up until next Monday,” said Andres.

Many seniors sat out the rally, fearing they might not be allowed to graduate.

Novasio said that the threat was not made.

Some athletes also did not participate because they would not be able to practice.

Novasio said there was not threat there either, but the policy was read about not being able to practice if a student misses school.

Technically, the students were supposed to demonstrate off school property, but neither law enforcement nor the school administration chose to make it an issue.