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Update: Wyola school to remain closed Thursday

Sign at Wyola School
Posted at 7:59 PM, Oct 11, 2023

Update 6 a.m. Thursday

There will be no school Thursday in Wyola, according to a notice posted on the school's Facebook page.

No reason has been given for the school closure, which entered its fourth day.

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School will resume in Wyola on Thursday after classes were unexpectedly halted for three days following strife between teachers and parents.

No reason has been given for the temporary closure on the school at the southern edge of the Crow reservations. Trustees and other officials at the school have not responded to messages from MTN.

Related: Classes canceled twice in one week, with no explanation, at Wyola School

MTN's Russ Riesinger spoke with John Small, the Big Horn County superintendent of schools. His role is primarily advisory for school districts within Big Horn County.

Below is a transcript of the interview, lightly edited for clarity.

Russ: School will be back on again tomorrow as far as you know?

Small: Went down there to Wyola School to check it out today. I was informed that school will be back in session tomorrow.

Russ: Many parents had no clue why it was canceled in the first place, can you tell us why they closed?

Small: Many of the parents their concerns and complaints have been mounting. They feel like the board of trustees and administration are not giving them time to address their concerns and resolve some of the issues they are concerned about.

Russ: Have you investigated those claims?

Small: Not individually. Fortunately schools are governed by local control and that’s your elected school board officials and they have their administration to run the school. Those issues that are being brought up by the parents, I’m urging the Wyola board of trustees to sit down with the parents. There’s a lot of good people in Wyola. Sit down with those parents, resolve those issues and move forward so we have a positive working environment and a positive learning environment for the students. It’s up to those trustees to insure that.

Russ: So even though you are the Superintendent you don’t have that control over that?

Small: We can give advice on policy and so on but as far as the control that is right there in the hands of those trustees and that administration to ensure that those mandates a safe positive teaching environment and a safe positive learning environment for the students.

Russ: So you can’t take action—only encourage people to get together and talk about this?

Small: Yes that’s correct I have offered my assistance. I do know the office of public instruction has a board coach and has offered their assistance. As far as the county I do have some concerns as far as management and HR concerns, financial concerns that affected not only the county but also federal.

Russ: When you heard about these allegations what was your thought?

Small: When I heard about that I turn it back to the board of trustees. The board of trustees that is your local control and that is where issues need to be resolved as an elected official that comes with the territory. Of course when there’s a lot of staff and students issues come up. People need to understand and address those issues so a positive teaching environment will exist.

Russ: You are not taking these concerns lightly?

Small: I feel like these parents with their concerns about these students. I feel like their concerns are real. All these parents are seeking what is called free appropriate education. I think it is in the best interest of the Wyola School to address those concerns for the benefits of these parents and most importantly for the students.