MVRHS students rally in support of principal


On Friday morning, about 20 students of Martha’s Vineyard Regional High School (MVRHS) gathered at the edge of Edgartown–Vineyard Haven Road to rally in support of their principal, Sara Dingledy. They waved signs and pumped their fists, catching the attention of passing drivers. 

This rally was in the wake of social media posts from anonymous sources talking negatively about the school, and more specifically about Dingledy, according to Martha’s Vineyard Public Schools Assistant Superintendent Richie Smith. The Times recently received copies of the anonymous posts, as well as an anonymous letter alleging Dingledy treats students unfairly. It makes specific allegations that The Times has not been able to verify.

The students “strategically planned this,” and used the 10 minutes of time between classes to rally, according to MVRHS school intervention coordinator Sheryl Taylor told the Times. 

Smith heard about the posts Thursday night. “We’re here today because there are a lot of students that are upset with the posts,” Smith said. “Because it had such an effect on kids, we’ll respond to it as if there were a traumatic event that happened.”

The school sent a message to the students, according to Smith, stating that they will be supported through the process, letting them know that if they “are upset, want to know more, or want to talk with a trusted adult, here are the resources.” Taylor said these include the restorative justice office, guidance office, and teachers, among others. 

“We are certainly looking at options in other ways, whether that be surveys, focus groups … so that we are making sure we are able to elicit students’ concerns directly in response to this, but in an ongoing manner,” Taylor said. She and other school staff met with leaders of student groups this week to “get a pulse of how students are feeling.” 

When asked how bad the posts were, Smith replied, “They were bad enough to upset the kids … I would say it was upsetting enough for students to organize something like this.”

Smith also said that whether the students were protesting in defense of the principal or the posts, the school’s main concern would be making sure the rallying or protesting students were “physically safe.” 

“I think in the end … it’s just, right now, an emotionally tough time on the Island and nationally,” Smith said. “I think we all think and believe … there has to be a time when we treat people humanely and with respect, and I think that’s the message the kids were trying to put out there.”

The Times reached out to Dingledy for comment, and MVRHS Assistant Principal Jeremy Light sent an email stating, “At this time Sara does not have a comment.”

Students were in classes preparing for their midterm exams, and were not immediately available for comment. 


    • Thank you Kelly. I have no idea what’s going on in the high school but the voices of the students that feel mistreated must be listened to

  1. So now negative social media posts about your principal can be “traumatic” . Is this for real? Imagine kids just a couple years older than these students storming the beach at Normandy. That’s traumatic, dude!

  2. Good to see a group of young people wanting to get involved. Not sure what it really was all about, still great to see they were not looking at a screen and being active. Maybe one of them would help out Tisbury and apply for the MVC spot.

    • The problem is they were looking at a social media screen which they think is the bible when it’s nothing more than a cesspool of idiotic posts from grade school intellectuals.

  3. The real issue on this island is that people don’t like change, and because people here don’t like change, they don’t like Ms. Dingledy. There are things Ms. Dingledy has done at the school that I don’t agree with, sure, but most of what she’s accomplished is positive change. Despite this though, and despite the letter that was anonymously written being somewhat inaccurate with the things said in it, it cannot be ignored the fact that some students at MVRHS do not feel supported. This in no way calls for kids to “grow up,” and we can’t dismiss this by saying that “kids a few years older than them were storming the beaches of Normandy.” The way I see it, as the student body Vice President at MVRHS, is that there is not enough communication between the administration and the students. Because of recent events, my peers and I have been able to air these complaints to the administration. We are coming together and making the positive changes that so many people on this island seem to loathe. Instead of bashing our youth for feeling one way or another, let’s try to support them, because frankly, I haven’t felt supported much by my broader community in quite some time now.

      • Well John I can tell you for sure that the comments you’ve left on this article aren’t supportive. How about the track that people are actively trying to rip apart? Denying students at MVRHS a track program isn’t supportive. Constantly disrupting and bashing the administration of our high school isn’t supportive either. All of those things could be fixed if more support was given from the community towards the interests of our next generation. I must say that I do feel supported my community in many ways still, such as through all of the wonderful scholarships generous people here offer, the island grown initiative and all of the other community services. This island offers to the youth amazing support unlike many places in this country do for their children. I’m not trying to sound entitled in any way, I just believe that there are ways people on this island have been acting recently that aren’t necessarily in any interest of our next generation, and it is in my opinion that that’s not okay.

        • Well Zach I’m glad you have an understanding of what an incredibly supportive community you live in and my hope is that you tell your fellow students to suck it up and not be “traumatized” by some negative comments on social media. Hopefully you’ll encourage these students to get off social media all together, doing so is incredibly liberating. Maybe you can educate them on how lucky they are to be part of this community and live in a time when their slightly older friends and schoolmates aren’t destined to travel far away to foreign countries and risk their lives for the incredible way of life you all enjoy.

  4. So helpful to hear your voice Zach, thank you. Are student leaders concerned about the support that black, brown and indigenous students, now and the next generation, are receiving from the administration? Are those voices in the student body encouraged and listened to?

  5. Round 2!
    Yay, students outside enjoying fresh air while expressing themselves by exercising their God-given right of free speech, don’t ya think that’s just darn awesome? 🤗 😉 🤓

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