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Smithville H.S. students show support for suspended principal with walk-out

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SMITHVILLE, Mo. -- Some Smithville students took matters into their own hands to support their suspended principal. A group of Smithville High School students walked out of class Thursday morning after the removal of their principal, Dr. Rudy Papenfuhs.

Dr. Papenfuhs faces a laundry list of allegations of misconduct, all of which could lead to his termination. On the eve of homecoming, some of those kids simply left school. The juniors and seniors should`ve been in class Thursday morning.

“He`d (Dr. Papenfuhs) probably say get back to class, but I think I`m doing what`s right,” junior Brandon Sweeny said.

Instead FOX 4 found them down the street decked out in decorated windows and `Free Pappy` T-shirts.

“I`m trying to make a stand for Papenfuhs. I think he`s an excellent principal,” Sweeny said.

The Smithville school board alleges Dr. Papenfuhs has violated district policy, claiming he provided medication and gifts to students, put a student on his personal phone plan and insurance policy and made some inappropriate comments.

“They're trying to make him seem like a bad guy, and the things that he did, I think if you look at them the way that we see them and the way that we actually know how they went down, then you would see that he was doing it for the right reason,” Sweeny said.

The students walked out of class at 9:30 Thursday morning.

“It means a lot to us as seniors, especially since we have had Dr. Papenfuhs as a principal our entire high school lives, so we`ve gotten closer to him than anyone else in the high school has,” senior Erica Siley said.

The students aren`t the only supporters, either.

“I think the public deserves to know from an adult standpoint what kind of person he really is,” said parent Bobby Russell.

The type of person Russell says means no harm to anyone. Instead, he describes him as a man trying to connect with students, lending a hand beyond the textbooks.

“He is now part of the reason why my son graduated and has done some great things with his life since then. He`s now a military specialist. I can`t thank him enough for the support and the inspiration to my son,” Russell said.

Dr. Papenfuhs has remained silent, but FOX 4 is told this whole thing will get a public airing on October 16.