That's what spawned a grassroots effort to show the Tri-Cities that these kids are proud of their school.
Lunch time at Ki-Be High School: the perfect time to break out sticky notes and Sharpies.
"We just wanted positive thoughts for Ki-Be," says sophomore Tristan Renz.
It was his idea to cover the windows in the cafeteria with Post-Its lending support to the school.
Messages like "Small Town, Big Dreams," "We Love Ki-Be," and "Heroes in Blue and White."
The idea started small.
"I just sent it to the people in my friend group," he says.
But it grew.
Vanessa Gonzalez helped organize the notes. She didn't anticipate so many fellow Bears coming together in this way.
"We see kids walking by and putting them up and we're like, 'Whoa! That's really cool,'" she says.
Before long, students from every grade were posting their own notes.
Some simple, some funny, but every one positive about Ki-Be.
The students are not afraid to tell everyone exactly how they really feel about their school, despite all of the controversy that's been going on.
Every teacher at the high school was represented by a encouraging note - including Principal Wayne Barrett, who was put on leave suddenly Monday morning.
"Everyone here supports him," says Tristan.
Parents KEPR spoke with say this is a perfect example how the Benton City community is rising above the controversy.
"It means they're seeing that example from somewhere. From home, from their teachers at school," says Jolene Calcadillas.
Tristan hopes this will help show how much of a family this place really is.
"All the sticky notes are gone that we bought last night. So that says something," he says.
More than 1,500 sticky notes were posted on the windows.
Administrators at the high school say they were in full support of the students' actions.