Students protest firing of teacher and coach

By WEEK Producer

April 9, 2014 Updated Apr 9, 2014 at 10:50 PM CDT

VARNA, Ill. -- Some students at Midland High School got unexcused absences on Wednesday.

They staged a “sit-out” to protest of the firing of a teacher.

Jeff Herkelman has been a health and physical education teacher, a drivers’ education instructor and a basketball coach at the school for three years.

This week, the school board voted not to rehire Herkelman for the next school year.

That decision has many students demanding a reason why.

"We are protesting. It’s not to get his job back, it's to understand why they did what they did,” said Student Chloe Murphy. “He did so much for the school and for the students so we just want to understand why.”

Herkleman came to Midland from Putnam County. He was fired from there in May 2010 and filed a discrimination complaint against the school board.

Midland High School administrators responded to the protest saying they are proud of their students for protesting in a respectful way, but that they are not allowed to release information regarding their personnel.