JACKSON COUNTY, WV (WOWK) – Several students walked out of their classrooms at Ripley High School today, Monday, Jan. 9, 2023, according to the Jackson County Schools superintendent.

The walkout comes after four students were charged in connection to an alleged incident that happened around Oct. 21, 2022, during an after school athletic team workout. According to authorities, one of the juvenile students is facing a sexual abuse charge, and all four students, including the vice principal’s 18-year-old son, Jacob Banton, are charged with battery and conspiracy.

Following the incident, parents have been calling for greater transparency from school leaders.

Students involved in the walkout say safety is their main concern after the incident came to light.

“There were a lot of people scared, and we just had to stand up and be the voice for them,” says RHS freshman Matthew Taylor.

The approximately 20 students said following the walkout, they received five days of lunch detention for their participation. The students said while they are being punished for leaving school property, they still believe it was the right move.

Jackson County Schools is not releasing any official information on the issue at this time. Ripley High School also says they are not commenting on the protest at this time.