About 250 students boycotted their first-period class at Meade Senior High School yesterday, demanding that school officials improve safety conditions.
The non-stop downpour Tuesday created what students described as hazardous conditions. Students boycotted classes for about 25 minutes until their demands to talk with Board of Education officials were met.
Katrina Crane, 17, was among the group of students spearheading the boycott. She said she was fed up with studying amid falling ceiling tile, scattered garbage cans to catch water from the leaky roof and other hazards in the school. The daylong rain didn't help, she said.
"It was the worst," Katrina said, holding a list of 15 complaints. "I became angry about the hazards created by the stairwell being closed off because water was high."
Meade Senior principal Stanley Stawas denied the stairwell was closed, but agreed that the torrential downpour worsened problems.
"A new crop of problems surfaced during the rain," Stawas said. "I was told by inspectors that the building is safe."
Workmen are installing a long-awaited $512,000 roof. A large crane looms over the building.
Stawas called the school board's Riva Road office to have a Crisis Intervention Team dispatched to the school after being informed that students were refusing to go to class.
"I feel their concerns have been addressed," he said. "There will be no repercussions to students who followed my directions to return to class."
Shirley Hicks, director of high schools, spent the day at Meade to make sure the unrest was under control.
"I considered it an orderly protest," Hicks said. "Students had concerns that they felt had to be addressed. I'm here because I wanted to give the principal as much support as possible."
By the end of the day, Ami Roush, a senior at the school, had told students of the talks with school officials and their promises for air quality and safety checks.
But as school buses rolled out of the school gate after a potentially explosive day, military police were on guard at school entrance points -- just in case.