Amy Robatin, a parent in the Greater Johnstown School District, and sophomore Jaydah Favor have worked together to organize a protest Tuesday and Wednesday outside the high school to stand up for issues ranging from current leadership to the dress code.
“I know that I’m in the right, and we’re going to get somewhere with this,” Robatin said.
Her side of the event, “The Demand for Change ‘Greater Johnstown School District,’” which will began at 4:30 p.m. both days, stems from an incident at the middle school that occurred four years ago.
Robatin alleges that one of her daughters, who was 13 years old at the time, had a gun pointed at her head and the district ignored the incident.
She said she repeatedly attempted to contact the district about the situation but never heard back.
“I just wanted them to be aware of it to get help for my kid,” the mother added.
Robatin recently took to social media to share her story, which is how the protest began to form.
In response to her posts, Greater Johnstown released the following statement Monday:
“The GJSD was made aware of social media posts regarding a gun threat and an assault of a student at Johnstown Middle School in 2017,” the message reads. “These accusations are completely false. A police report was filed by the family in 2020 indicating that events occurred in the community with absolutely no mention of the GJSD or the Johnstown Middle School. The GJSD has referred the family to all appropriate county agencies in order to receive the support they need.
“The GJSD takes all reports very seriously and investigates immediately. The District believes these false allegations are in retaliation to a recent court hearing of April 28, 2021, for which the court took appropriate action to support the child. Again, there is absolutely no merit to the claim and the report is not simply mischaracterized, but it is patently false.”
Robatin is upset the district took this route and stated that she never filed a police report because she didn’t want that kind of attention.
District Superindent Amy Arcurio said Monday that Greater Johnstown has “absolutely no record of any report, claim, accusation made to the school district” that year involving the alleged threat and wasn’t made aware of the incident until recently.
Arcurio reiterated that the police report makes no mention of the middle school and “clearly states that this alleged event occurred in the community.”
Robatin’s goal of holding the protests are to get several issues addressed from parent involvement and school choice options to new leadership.
Favor’s part in the event is connected to the school’s dress code.
“The school dress codes against us young girls are so extremely sexist and outdated,” Favor said. “It is not good for our mental health, especially when we feel confident and pretty in what we wear just to get ... sent home, having to change, and/or get (in school suspension) or detention.”
Because of this, the 15-year-old created the hashtag “#isthis2inappropriate4you?” and encourages students to wear red and make clothing that sport her slogan.
In response, Arcurio said administrators are forming a committee, made up of students, parents, teachers and faculty, to review the current code and make any necessary changes.
The first meeting will be at 11 a.m. Tuesday at the high school and involves Favor along with a few peers.
Arcurio said she agreed that the dress code needed to be reviewed because that hasn’t happened in “many, many years.”
Additionally, Favor will be speaking about her concerns regarding the situation and mental health of students during the school board meeting at 5 p.m. Tuesday.
Joshua Byers is a reporter for The Tribune-Democrat. Follow him on Twitter @Journo_Josh.