On January 16, Lori Regional Governor Artur Nalbandyan met with some 40 teachers who have been boycotting classes for almost a month in protest of what they claim to have been a rigged election for school principal.
Passions are still flaring in the Lori village of Akori over a disputed December 20, 2011 election pitting local residents and teachers against the school board.
Also at the January 16 meeting was Heritage Party MP Anahit Bakhshyan. Those who were no-shows included the village mayor and School Board President Kamo Simonyan.
During the meeting, Regional Governor Nalbandyan angrily denounced what he labelled as scurrilous reports he had come across in the internet, alleging that some on the school board had accepted bribes to vote for the mayor’s choice for principal.
Armen Niazyan, the loser in the two person election and a local resident favored by the striking teachers, reiterated his claim that Akori Mayor Kamo Simonyan had suggested that he pay a $5,000 bribe for the job.
Governor Nalbandyan urges the teachers to stop their strike and take their case to the courts. He said it wasn’t right for over 300 students to suffer as a result of their actions.
Seda Khlopouzyan, the school’s vice principal, argued that the teaching staff had felt insulted at the way they were being treated and stated that they and the village residents had been betrayed by the school board.
Before leaving, Governor Nalbandyan said that they were waiting for a decision by an inspection team sent by the Ministry of Education.
Based on its findings, the school board will either call for new elections or let the current results stand.
After Nalbandyan left, the teachers collective voted to continue their boycott.