Students walk out of class to protest dismissal of their Smithville H.S. principal

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SMITHVILLE, Mo. -- A group of students at Smithville High School walked out of class Thursday morning in protest over the termination of their principal, Rudy Papenfuhs.

papenfuhsDistrict officials took issue with a number of actions taken by Papenfuhs and his relationships with and behavior toward some students.

Among the violations of district policy, district leaders accuse Papenfuhs of:

  • Texting students between 10 p.m. and 6 a.m.
  • Taking students to Chiefs games and Royals game
  • Adding a student to his cell phone plan and insurance policy
  • Making sexual comments and telling jokes that were sexual in nature to students
  • Administering a prescription medication to one student

At about 9:30 a.m. students said they walked out of class, calling it 'uneventful' although they know they could face consequences. Some of them decorated their cars and wore shirts with the slogan "Free Pappy".

"It's worth it. It's for a good cause. It's what we believe in. We believe he's a good guy and deserves to be our principal," said one student who walked out.

The school released a statement about the walk-out:

Students have the right to express their dissatisfaction and support for Dr. Papenfuhs. It is important however that there are no interruptions to the educational environment.

The school is contacting parents and guardians to ensure they are aware of the student absences.

See some of the tweets in support of Dr. Papenfuhs. The hashtag being used in social media is #freepappy.

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  • Janet

    The principal did absolutely nothing wrong.. I find it oddthat the “little girl” who is accusing him of all these things got kicked off the cheerleading team prior to these “events” . Go look at her fb page she’s practically bragging at the fact that she was on the news station and that she’s the one this is all about.

  • Nikki

    If more teachers, administrators and even some parents took the type of interest in the youth if today like this man seems to do maybe we wouldn’t be hearing and seeing all of the horror stories about school shootings and bullying. This witch hunt is exactly why people don’t want to help! I say go Pappy!

  • B

    Disappointed. My 2 sons like Papenfuhs too BUT he took too many liberties and crossed boundaries. If this had been my child, I would be furious at the inappropriate discussions that should only be between parents/students and personal counselor/student. In a leadership role being a “friend” never quite works out. Many ways to mentor without being one on one discussing personal matters. Thankful there is a code of conduct for the students and administration to be upheld.

    • Angie

      But unlike your two children, this boy did not have any parental influence. The principal was just trying to guide the kid in the right direction. So he never helped, 3 years from now would we have been reading a news article where this kid is going to jail for a crime. I say kudos to the principal.