Students, staff protest after Thomas Nelson HS-Nelson County HS merger vote

Students and staff members at Thomas Nelson High School are walking out and protesting on Wednesday.
Published: Oct. 18, 2023 at 11:07 AM EDT|Updated: Oct. 18, 2023 at 11:23 AM EDT
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BARDSTOWN, Ky. (WAVE) - A move by Nelson County’s School Board Tuesday night sent Thomas Nelson High students and staff members protesting Wednesday morning. The board voted to potentially merge Thomas Nelson High with Nelson County High. Students felt like they had to take action.

“In the last year and a half, they have not listened,” Thomas Nelson High Junior JT Cammack said. “We have been in classrooms, went to meetings, sent emails, and they have never listened to us then. We had to do something different, so I decided to get all the students together, all my friends, and we walked out. Now, they can listen.”

The Nelson County School Board is proposing a connected campus. The board voted 3-2, with long-time board member Damon Jackey resigning at the end of the meeting and saying actions taken by the school board were no longer taken in the best interest of students. If the plan goes through, Thomas Nelson students would have to turn in their generals’ gear for Nelson County cardinals.

On Wednesday, TNHS students made it clear they didn’t want to lose their school.

“This is a safe place for everyone to feel welcomed, and we won’t feel welcomed at Nelson County, because we have been here,” Thomas Nelson High Freshman Emma Duggan said.

“Thomas Nelson is the first high school I have been to, and I feel comfortable here, not at Nelson,” Thomas Nelson High Freshman Kelsey Broils said.

School board members say that the move would be for financial reasons. It could take three years to create the connected campus with a price tag of at least 80 million dollars.

“I want one of the board members to look me in the eyes, not lie, and tell me it’s best for the school,” Cammack said. “If you can get me facts and evidence, and show me that it is the best option, maybe I’ll believe you, but until I get that, I am fighting for what I got.”

The Nelson County School Board hasn’t made a final decision on the merger. The vote gave the approval to start the planning process for the connected campus.

Thomas Nelson High School opened back in 2012.