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Newberg Superintendent makes first public comments since termination

Dr. Joe Morelock spoke at a rally outside district headquarters Thursday.

NEWBERG, Ore. — The Superintendent of Newberg Schools made his first public comments on Thursday since the school board voted him out earlier in the week.

"I'm overwhelmed by this show of support," Dr. Joe Morelock said. "I hope that you continue to support the schools every single day and don't let the messages get you down."

Morelock's comments came towards the end of a rally outside district headquarters. The Veteran's Day gathering of hundreds was organized by veteran Ian McDonough.

"Our district was suffering in terms of financial collapse and collapse of morale of our teachers, staff, and administrators," McDonough said. "He was able to rebuild our school district and now he's been terminated for a political agenda on the part of four directors."

Credit: Mike Benner, KGW staff
Hundreds gathered for a rally in Newberg Thursday.

The four board members who voted to terminate the superintendent are the same four who have been working tirelessly to ban Black Lives Matter and Pride symbols on school grounds. 

Due to legal concerns, that policy was later amended to include images relating to a political, quasi political, or controversial topic. Either way, the policy has been troubling to many parents and students.

RELATED: Newberg school board stops short of rescinding Pride, BLM ban in district buildings

"It makes me sick," parent Emma Yakubu said. "It's sickening to me. I'm so angry beyond angry."

"I'm sick of having to sit there and comfort and console so many of my younger Queer individual students, black students, who are struggling right now," added a Newberg High School student.

The rally was as much about condemning new district policies as it was about supporting the superintendent whose days are now numbered.

"These are your schools," Morelock said. "This is your community and you need to never disappear from that. This is your duty."

The four board members who voted Morelock out have not responded to KGW's repeated requests for comment.

RELATED: Newberg teachers union sues over 'political images' ban in schools