On December 20, the school board of the Akori village high school in Lori Marz met to elect a new principal.
The outcome didn’t sit well with local residents who turned out to protest the election results.
There were two candidates in the race – Armen Niazyan, a resident of Akori who teaches at the Alaverdi vocational school, and Anahit Mousayelyan, a resident of Alaverdi who teaches history at the high school.
Local residents wanted a village resident as their high school’s new principal. They were more than disappointed when the school board voted 5 to 3 in favour of Anahit Mousayelyan, the outsider.
The school board, composed of eight members, was elected two years ago. Sitting on the board are two teachers, two parents, Akori Mayor Kamo Simonyan, the deputy mayor, the mayor’s wife, and the manager of the village kindergarten.
Locals claim that the mayor pulled out all the stops to have Anahit Mousayelyan elected and exerted a fair amount of pressure on the board members.
When the election results were announced, school pupils took to the streets with banners in support of the loser Armen Niazyan. The pupils were chanting for Mousayelyan to leave the village.
Niazyan told Hetq that he doesn’t think it proper for the mayor, the mayor’s deputy, the mayor’s wife, and the kindergarten manager to be sitting on the school board.
“The mayor has all the levers to put pressure on these people,” he said.
Niazyan is a physical education teacher with a college degree. Mousayelyan has 20 years of teaching experience.
The new principal says that the decision of the board is final and cannot be contested.
Mayor Simonyan asserted that at no time did he ever try to convince any of the board members into voting for Mousayelyan.
Seda Tomoyan, a teacher at the school, was adamant in her opposition to Mousayelyan.
“We will never hand over our school to a foreigner. The entire teaching staff has signed a petition demanding that our co-villager be appointed. Otherwise we’ll gear up for an indefinite work strike.”
Vanik Misakyan, from the Ministry of Education and Science, was on hand to witness the turmoil. He said the board had voted and that’s that. “I just don’t understand what all the commotion is about,” Misakyan said.
After the vote, Misakyan attempted to introduce the new principal to the teaching staff. They wanted nothing to do with Mousayelyan and rejected her authority.
The teachers joined up with pupils and parents marching through the streets of Akori.
The marchers, shouting “traitor” and “Judas” made their way to the house of Mayor Simonyan.
Seda Khlopouzyan, a senior instructor at the high school, told the crowd of protestors that the teaching staff would declare an indefinite strike on December 21.
At around 6pm, local police arrived and urged the demonstrators to disperse. The cops also told reporters not to take any pictures.
Rumor had it that Lori Governor Artour Nalbandyan would met with the school’s teaching staff today.