Second West Fargo High School Protest for Coach Jonas Shut Down - Valley News Live - KVLY/KXJB - Fargo/Grand Forks

Second West Fargo High School Protest for Coach Jonas Shut Down

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The day after a student-organized protest filled West Fargo High School, the #FreeJonas Twitter hashtag and "Justice for Jonas" Facebook page buzzed with plans to sit in again the afternoon of Nov. 21.

When Valley News Live arrived at the school for the beginning of the second protest for recently resigned football and basketball coach Jim Jonas, it had been shut down.

 A student sent us a photo of a flier being passed around the student body, alerting others that the sit in would take place during sixth and seventh periods.

But we heard from another student that the school announced via intercom today that another protest would not be tolerated.

West Fargo Assistant Principal Dan Holder wouldn't acknowledge the protest.

When we asked if he was aware of what was going on, he responded, "We are having school today."

When we asked "Not another sit in?" he responded, "Nope."

Valley News Live was again asked to leave the school campus.

West Fargo School Board President Kay Kiefer has released a comment about the way this has been handled by the administrative team, saying she is "confident in the manner in which they have handled things and in their professionalism along the way."

Although the second Free Jonas protest was stopped even before it began, the fight is far from over. Social media tells us that students and parents alike are planning to attend Monday night's school board meeting to voice their opinions.

Valley News Live will be there for coverage on this developing story. 


Nearly 200 students took part in the hour and a half long sit-in as a show of support for Jim Jonas, a former assistant football and basketball coach who suddenly resigned.

"We want Jonas! We want Jonas!"

That's all students and faculty heard during the start of 3rd and 4th period at West Fargo High School.

"I heard from everyone in school, you could hear it throughout the halls it no matter what side of the building you were on. You could hear them."

Bailey Hurley a student and campus reporter recounts the Jonas protest.

"It probably went from fifty people to 200 people within an hour and a half." 

A wave of support for a man who spent 23 years teaching and coaching at the high school. Nearly 200 students gathered in the commons chanting, clapping and administration puzzled.

"They were there the entire time there was one on top of the stairs, one in the lunchroom, police was walking up and down, but you couldn't really stop them...you couldn't stop any of the students."

A statement was sent to us from West Fargo Public Schools, stating there will be no consequences directly tied to the protest; however students could get detention or even be suspended if they were in violation of the absence policy.

Heather Badar, a student of Mr. Jonas helped organize the protest. When she heard of his sudden resignation, heather got to work.

"Coaching was his life and we all just felt really bad."

She drew a picture of a Packer, above it stating "Free Jonas".

"After he got fired the first time I saw him he came in and he was almost in tears.    

She posted the sketch on Facebook, tagged 133 students and it took off from there.

"All the students really came together and it was really great to see. 

Badar says whatever comes of the sit-ins, she believes she did the right thing.

"It was definitely worth it because he is a great teacher and any consequence is well worth it."

A big question that still remains to be answered is what prompted Jonas to resign? School officials are still not saying, but tried today to explain why they've kept quiet. In part, an afternoon statement said "to the highest degree possible, West Fargo Public Schools attempts to respect employee confidentiality whenever personnel decisions are made." 

The West Fargo School Board has a regularly scheduled meeting on Monday, November25th. At least one person and possibly two supporters of Jim Jonas have requested time to speak to board members.


In the middle of math, science and history classes on the morning of Nov. 20, West Fargo High School students decided to educate administrators with what they've learned about the First Amendment.

Valley News Live was first to arrive at the Free Jonas protest- an effort to bring teacher Jim Jonas back into coaching basketball and football.

The school's administration declined comment and escorted Valley News Live Reporter Mellaney Moore out of the building.

"Really it's just our attempt to try to free Jonas back as a coach 'cause that's literally his life," says West Fargo High School Junior Tyler Richardson.

"You hear rioting, people screaming 'Free Jonas!' 'Let's go Jonas!' and all of that; People slamming on the tables and screaming and shouting and doing whatever they can," says West Fargo High School Sophomore Samantha Sanford as she describes the sights and sounds inside the school.

Police then asked Valley News Live to leave the school grounds.

West Fargo High School students sent Valley News Live video of an estimated 200 students fighting for Jonas, making sure the school hears what they have to say.

Many questions still remain as to why Jonas resigned. He denied comment to Valley News Live this afternoon.

West Fargo High School says students will not be punished for participating in the protest, but school policy guidelines will apply to any unexcused absences.   

The effort can be followed on Twitter through #FreeJonas and mentions have been made to continue the protest Thursday, Nov. 20. Valley News Live is continuing to follow this developing story.


Students in West Fargo are standing up for recently resigned coach Jim Jonas. Wednesday morning at the West Fargo High School Commons, students staged a sit-in and chanted "We want Jonas."

The assistant football and basketball coach resigned last week, but so far, few answers have been given for the sudden resignation. Valley News Team's Mellaney Moore was at the high school for the protest on Wednesday morning and will have much more on this story on Valley News Live at 5:00.

A statement regarding the student protest for Jim Jonas was released from West Fargo Public Schools on Wednesday afternoon and reads as follows:


"Decisions that support the educational opportunities and the well-being of our students are made on a daily basis. Each of these decisions is made with considerable thought and deliberation; when the decision involves personnel, the district will complete a formal process around that decision.

A key piece of that process is communication with the affected employee; such communication may be given verbally or via written document, and may or may not be placed within the employee's personnel file. The district will err on the side of direct communication with the affected employee before communicating with the public. To the highest degree possible, West Fargo Public Schools attempts to respect employee confidentiality whenever personnel decisions are made.

The district has no further comment at this time."

   -  Heather Konschak, Community Relations Coordinator 



The West Fargo Football and Basketball assistant coach, who suddenly resigned last week amid mysterious circumstances, says he's moving on from his decision.

Last week, we told you about the thousands of Facebook users who joined a page demanding answers over the resignation of Jim Jonas. The page "Justice for Jonas" claimed Jonas was given a letter telling him to resign or he would be fired.  

In a statement to Valley News Live Jonas says, "At this time I would like to thank everyone for their support during this difficult time. I love being a coach. I am sorry for the embarrassment I have brought to my family, friends, and West Fargo. As a coach, it was always my intention to try and bring out the best in my players. At this time I will hold my head high, man up, and move forward."



A Facebook group is swiftly gaining members in support of a West Fargo High School coach who recently resigned.

Jim Jonas has been an assistant coach at the school for more than 20 years. But after rumors of him resigning, many are now asking questions about what brought it on.

The Facebook group is called "Justice For Jonas". It already has over 24,000 members.

On the page it says he was handed a letter, telling him he needed to resign or he would be fired from his assistant coach position from both the football and basketball teams.

Valley News Live called the West Fargo Public Schools who says Jim Jonas resigned his position from both sports, but is still coaching track.

But the Facebook group creator, Katie Scully says after personally knowing him for many years, his sudden departure is a shock.

"I have yet to meet somebody that truly doesn't like him," Katie says, "Jonas is Jonas, and always has been and always will be. He cares more about the students then probably anybody else that I've seen in that school."

The school's Community Relations Coordinator could not confirm Jim Jonas was given a letter, but told Valley News Live on the phone that Jim resigned on Friday. 

The school says no more details could be given. This leaves many questions left unanswered by the school from the thousands of coach Jonas supporters.

If you want to check out the groups Facebook page just click here

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