NEDERLAND, Colo. -- About a quarter of the student body at Nederland Middle Senior High School walked out of the classroom Tuesday morning in protest.
Close to 75 students left school at 10 a.m. and they marched through town with signs while chanting “We want Jones.”
The students want answers about the firing of their high school football coach Aaron Jones.
Boulder Valley School District announced in late December it would not be renewing Jones’ coaching contract, but he will remain on the staff in his teaching position.
“It’s shocking to me that Jones isn’t going to be the Nederland football coach,” senior quarterback Jaylan Rasdall said.
Players said because Nederland is such a small community, their football program has always struggled to recruit players, but was starting to show improvement.
Jones was named a Denver Broncos Coach of the Week in 2014.
“It was definitely going up and the future of the program was only getting better as time went on,” Rasdall said.
Nederland isn’t the biggest or best football team in Colorado, but players and parents said the team is about a lot more than football.
“He was the best coach I ever had because he wasn’t just a coach. He was a friend. He was a mentor,” former Nederland football player Matthew Mills said.
“Jones is Ned football. He’s the heart and soul of Ned football,” former player Ike Thibideau said.
While some members of the community are upset about losing their beloved coach, they are also upset because they don’t know why he was fired.
The district said it cannot discuss personnel issues so it will not inform the community the reasoning behind the decision.
“In BVSD, student protests that remain peaceful and do not disrupt the learning environment are supervised and occur under the protection of the First Amendment rights," principal Carrie Yantzer wrote in a letter to parents.
Neither the district nor the school provided any further statements regarding the walkout or Jones’ contract.
“I watched him coach. I’ve watched him be around these kids and I’ve never seen anything or any reason why he should not be there,” parent Bee Brogan said.
Brogan believes as taxpayers, the community deserves an explanation.
“I don’t think it’s fair that we’re not being asked how we feel about this,” she said.
The district will hold a community meeting Wednesday night for students and parents to provide input regarding the qualities they are looking for in the next coach.