On March 16, students, parents and faculty of Wilmington, Delaware’s Padua Academy received an unexpected email stating that the head of school, Cindy Mann, had been removed from her position. Emails were eventually obtained showing that Mann was questioning the St. Anthony of Padua Parish about their financial relationship with the school.
Families of Wilmington’s beloved all-girl Catholic school erupted with an out-pour of cries and pleas for a reinstatement after this unexpected firing. In response to this announcement, Padua Academy students quickly united and planned a peaceful protest on the school’s steps the following Monday.
The protest gained local and national news attention, drawing in news teams from all over the Delaware and Pennsylvania areas. Wilmington streets were flooded with students, parents and faculty, wearing pink head to toe for their principal, who was notoriously known for her pink shoes. Padua families and faculty refused to step foot in the school until their voices were heard and their principal was reinstated.
The protest lasted the length of the school day, but their voices were not hushed when the final school bell rang.
Parents and students were encouraged to write letters and emails to the parish explaining how they believed the decision was a wrong one. Tweets from students poured out demanding a change be made. #PinkShoePower, #OnlyMannWeNeed and #BringHerBack began trending on Twitter. The girls made it known that though their protest was over, the students were far from finished when it came to making their voices heard.
Mann was reinstated on March 27 following a period of silence from the St. Anthony parish. It was reported that she will be back to school after Easter break.
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