Following a bizzare petition organised by “concerned parents” calling for the removal of the Iron Maiden-loving high school principal Sharon Burns, the school board has ruled that she can keep her job. The parents were perturbed by the band’s “satanic” imagery.
The petition sought to have Burns removed or transferred from her position at St. Catherines High School in Ontario, Canada. The request came after she posted two images on her social media accounts in which she expressed her passion for Iron Maiden.
One picture saw the school teacher posing in a band T-shirt in front of an Iron Maiden-themed license plate, while the second featured a handwritten sign with the inscription ‘Eddie 666’ alongside a figure of the band’s skeletal mascot sitting on her dashboard.
The original petition – released on Change.org – read: “As concerned parents with impressionable children at Eden High School in St. Catharines, Ontario, we are deeply disturbed that the principal assigned to the school blatantly showed Satanic symbols and her allegiance to Satanic practices on her public social media platforms.”
On publication, the petition quickly made headlines – at which point the parents added: “Please Note: This petition is NOT about Sharon Burns’ love for Iron Maiden. At NO POINT has it ever been. This petition is about a principal of a school openly displaying her OWN handmade sign with the 666 clearly displayed on it.”
Subsequently, a counter-petition was set up by students and parents in support of Burns. It received over 20,000 signatures, garnering much more support than the one calling for her removal, on which only about 500-plus people signed their names.
While Burns is yet to make a statement, a school spokesperson has said: “As you can imagine, Principal Burns, like all of us, is quite surprised by how her Instagram post led to two petitions and grew to be a topic of interest around the world,” began Kim Sweeney, chief communications officer for the District School Board of Niagara.
“We know Ms. Burns as a passionate and dedicated educator who is happiest when she can focus on and connect with her students. Our belief is that taste in music is subjective and we support that both students and staff enjoy a wide variety of genres,” she concluded.
The original petition has since been removed from Change.org, but not before one of the parents who launched it had the time to add: “Sharon knows full well what she did was simply inappropriate, unnecessary and not professional but has yet to publicly admit so and is willing to allow people to believe a completely different story, making very real concerns seem petty.”