WDAY: The News Leader

Published November 20, 2013, 05:32 PM

West Fargo High School students support former coach with sit-in

West Fargo, ND (WDAY TV) - Community interest has been piqued, after a West Fargo teacher was relieved of coaching duties.

By: Drew Trafton, WDAY

West Fargo, ND (WDAY TV) - Community interest has been piqued, after a West Fargo teacher was relieved of coaching duties.

Jim Jonas was asked to step down from his assistant coaching positions on the football and basketball teams last week after a recent complaint was filed against Jonas.

The school athletic director says the complaint is one of several compiled over time.

Since the news broke, the interested public has come out in overwhelming support for the former coach. and today, students joined in as well.

We were informed via social media that students began a sit-in at the school around 10:30 this morning.

When we arrived at the school, administration confirmed the sit-in was taking place and that they would not be immediately commenting.

We were then asked to leave-- which we did.

But due to modern technology, there were dozens of cameras already in the room.

"We want Jonas! We want Jonas!"

Students from inside the school's common area posted pictures and video of the sit-in on social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter.

According to West Fargo Junior Alex Burton, rumors of the sit-in had been circulating out in cyberspace for days.

Alex Burton/West Fargo High Junior: "I think if you search #freeJonas on Twitter, you can like, find out everything."

Tweets posted as late as this morning encouraged students to gather in the school's Commons during third and fourth period, but no one really knew how big the rally would grow.

"Give us Jonas! Give us Jonas!"

Students estimate more than 100 of their fellow classmates came together for the hour and a half long sit-in that included chanting.

West Fargo Senior Hannah Slagle says administrators at the school requested the students remain quiet.

Hannah Slagle//West Fargo High Senior: "They tried to hush us, but it wasn't going to work."

West Fargo police cruisers were seen circling the school, and students say several police officers were called in and asked to monitor the crowd.

The West Fargo Police Department declined our request for comment and directed us to the school district.

Some of the students involved say their actions mirrored the passion they see in in the classroom and field from Jonas.

Slagle: "One of my friends saw him crying in class, and he's been a real big inspiration for me."

The hashtag "freeJonas" on Twitter has, at times today, been the most popularly used phrase by tweeters in Fargo/Moorhead, a spot usually occupied by Bison football.