UPDATE: Outrage at Regina's Riffel high school over SRC president's removal

March 6, 2013 - 1:02pm Updated: March 6, 2013 - 9:19pm
Former SRC president Scott Woloshin with supportive classmates.  Photo via twitter.
Former SRC president Scott Woloshin with supportive classmates. Photo via twitter.

Students, along with some parents, are outraged at Regina's Michael A. Riffel High School after the school's student council president was removed from his post.

Scott Woloshin was informed on March 1 that he was being suspended from his position, a week and a half after a segment aired on Newstalk Radio's John Gormley Live where Woloshin shared information about the senior classes attempt to do their own version of the Harlem Shake dance video.

The video is part of a viral-craze involving a group of people dancing to a 30-second clip of music called The Harlem Shake (see a version of the video below, produced by Regina's Campbell Collegiate).

The segment of John Gormley Live aired on Wednesday, February 20, during the time when the school division was on break for reading week.  Although Woloshin did not appear on the program live, he provided information that while the senior class wanted to produce the video, they were "told by school administration that they are disallowing us to dance because of the school's fear of being sued should a dancer fall and hurt themselves."  At the time, the program spoke with the Regina Catholic School Division which said the number of students involved in the potential video exceeded the initial number indicated, and the filming was cancelled pending future talks.  The division also referenced concerns about someone getting hurt.

Students and the school division agree that there was talk about the school producing their own Harlem Shake video.  However, there appears to be confusion in the communication of where and when the video would be filmed, and how many students would be involved.

After getting an apparent thumbs up from the school, Woloshin posted on the Facebook page for the senior class that they would be putting together their own Harlem Shake video.

"Later in the day, (staff in the school) were faced with a number, I'm going to say hundreds of students, who had gathered together for a Harlem Shake at a time of day that presented a few issues in the school concerning dismissal, concerning general flow of dismissal flow or avenues in the school.  The staff wasn't aware of what had been planned," explained Rob Currie, director of education with the Regina Catholic School Board.  He insists that the school was prepared to arrange an eventual video, following the proper procedures.

"Since this was going to be a videoed activity, we are bound by the privacy act.  We are required to have parental consent forms signed for each and every one of our students."

Students agree that consent forms were discussed, but that someone on staff indicated that the idea was done, saying 'its not happening,' and 'find somewhere else to do it.'

When school reconvened the Monday following the segment featured on John Gormley Live, Woloshin was reportedly called in for a number of meetings with members of the school's administration.  By the end of the week, he was informed that he was being permanently removed as the student council president.  His parents were also present at the meeting, with all under the impression that the reason for Woloshin's dismissal was because he had spoken with John Gormley, going over the heads of school administration.

Currie confirms that Woloshin was removed from his position, however he cannot provide the reason for it, citing privacy restrictions.  He can say, however, that the grounds of someone like Woloshin being removed from student council would include the refusal to work in collaboration with school administration.

"We have wonderful student councils in our schools, and we look for the collaboration of our student councils working with staff advisors and school administration to ensure measures of safety, privacy, engagement of our student body in activities that are supportive of the school, and approved by the school staff advisors.  If those are not events that take place, it is the expectation and application of staff to ensure these events are improved."

A spokesperson for the division said in an earlier interview that student council members cannot be removed for speaking to the media. 

When asked if Woloshin could appeal to be reinstated, Currie responded:

"I think there would have to be discussions realized.  And again, what is important is that the parties involved have discussions and dialogue.  Working through communication through the media is not one to further advance opportunities of further discussions."

Students at the school, and some parents of students, are now showing support for Woloshin.  On Wednesday, some students wore T-shirts saying, "We love Scott."  Social media has also lit up, with supporters using the hashtag #scott4prez on twitter.

John Gormley Live featured another segment on the growing saga, which attracted many callers and supporters.

"We're totally not behind this," said one student, also named Scott, "we would like to have more of a say.  I don't even know why we have an SRC unless we can have more of a say."

Edited by CJME's Courtney Mintenko.  With files from Lisa Schick and Adriana Christianson.

Twitter @CJMENews