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Principal at Olean school who was subject of student-led protest has resigned

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Posted at 12:52 PM, Nov 11, 2021
and last updated 2021-11-11 12:53:18-05

OLEAN, N.Y. (WKBW) — The co-principal at Olean Intermediate Middle School who was the subject of a student-led protest has resigned for purpose of retirement.

On Tuesday the Olean City School District's Board of Education accepted Joel Whitcher’s resignation, for purpose of retirement, effective November 9, 2021.

Students organized a peaceful protest against Whitcher on September 22, they said the protest was in response to videos that surfaced online that showed Whitcher at his church making comments against abortion, Muslims and the LGBTQ community. The students also created a petition on change.org to remove Whitcher from his position. Some said because Whitcher made these comments on his own time, they should not affect his job, but the students disagreed.

At the time of the protest the Olean district school website said they are "committed to providing a safe, supportive environment free from harassment, bullying and discrimination for all its students," and encouraged students, staff and parents to report any incident.

According to the Olean Times Herald, Whitcher was placed on administrative leave sometime between the board meetings on September 21 and October 5 and the board voted to continue the leave during the October 5 meeting.