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Apr 18, 2013 9:29 PM by Lorraine Rivera

ASDB students stage protests

TUCSON - Students at the Arizona School for the Deaf and the Blind are staging protests at their Tucson and Phoenix schools. The students say they are upset over the loss of their agriculture program and its teacher Richard Layton.

Layton said he was terminated Wednesday and spoke with News 4 Tucson on Thursday, "I asked: reason? They said since you're on probation we don't need to give you one and that was it. They escorted me off campus."

He has taught at the school since August 2011. Layton said he filed a grievance against the school superintendent Robert Hill and thinks his termination was retaliation.

"I feel more for the kids. It's not so much my job, it's the opportunities we're taking away from the kids so yeah it's hard," Layton said.

Students, parents, concerned citizens and alumni have written a letter asking for Hill to step down. An online petition has garnered hundreds of signatures.

Alan Amann's son is a student at ASDB, he said he is upset and frustrated with the school's administration, "we want a superintendent who can act and acts in good faith and in the trust of ASDB and not put his personal agenda before ASDB and we feel like that's not happening now."

Students are also protesting the departure of Dr. Nancy Amann, who is Alan's wife. Amann served as an executive director/principal at the Tucson site. It's unclear why she is on leave.

Signs posted outside the school are demanding that Amann and Layton return to school. The students also want their animals returned. Layton said he was instructed to get rid of the animals in the Agriculture class. He said the goats and chickens were returned to their owners. He believes the goats would probably end up processed.

Layton said he was overwhelmed by the support of the students, "it brings goose bumps to think that this means something to them." He said he hopes to appeal his termination.

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