Some students, parents upset by dismissal of Huntington JROTC leader
HUNTINGTON, Ind. (WPTA) - A petition seeks the reinstatement of the JROTC program leader at Huntington North High School following his dismissal for what he believes centered on “TikTok” videos of his students.
School district officials would not discuss the reasons they released SFC Dana Lescoe (ret.), but told ABC21 that the decision was made in consultation with the US military.
A sit-in by some students was staged at the school on Wednesday, and a petition to “Save Sgt. Lescoe’s Job” was posted to the site Change.org this week. Lescoe said his termination came without warning -- likely because the school disagreed with his posting of social media videos that he said were an effort to connect with his students.
The petition is based on a similar understanding. It reads, in part: This is over his tik tok account... According to the school Sarge didn’t give the image the school wanted in his tik toks. That’s the only reason any of this is happening.
Sample videos reviewed by ABC21 show Lescoe leading one group in a choreographed dance outdoors, and students taking part in what appears to be an exercise in which the teens haul tires across open field using ropes.
“My son actually is in the program, and he sent me a picture today of a kid who took a sticky note and wrote a really nice message for me and stuck it on my door,” Lescoe said. “I’m not an emotional guy... but the last 24 hours, the things the kids have said and done, the parents... It’s bittersweet, I guess.”
One parent told ABC21 that Lescoe made a significant impact on his child.
“You want to have (kids say), ‘Hey I want to be like Sgt. Lescoe when I grow up. I want to make a difference in people’s lives,’” Sean Peak said.
Another parent said Lescoe helped their daughter overcome bullying and make wiser choices at school.
Lescoe isn’t sure what he will be next, but said he would welcome the opportunity to resume teaching. Some parents said they intend to protest at an upcoming school board meeting.
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