H-TEMPLETON

Mar 23, 2012 3:24 AM by Ariel Wesler

Community protests possible dismissal of principal at Templeton High

Parents, students, and staff at Templeton High School are demanding answers as to why the district plans to dismiss the school's principal, Tom Harrington, at the end of the year. They showed up at Thursday night's school board meeting to voice their frustrations.

District leaders say this is a personnel matter and by law cannot discuss details. However, district leaders say Principal Tom Harrington did nothing wrong or inappropriate, and they are not questioning his character. Still, many at the meeting felt that they were being kept out of the loop.

Ron Shannon has known Tom Harrington for 40 years. The two roamed the halls and played sports together at Templeton High School.

"Everything seemed like he was doing a great job. To hear this is a total shock," Shannon said.

"He put so much time into the school and to the students and he's always available. I don't understand why he's being let go," said one parent.

Some speculate there are simply philosophical differences between Harrington and the district.

"There is an assumption that Mr. Harrington is not in favor of this. That's a big assumption," said one speaker, who said he was neutral on the matter.

District leaders say they are making the changes necessary to align the high school with its future goals.

"I have a responsibility to our students and this community to place somebody who can create that 21st century vision for the high school," said Templeton Unified Superintendent Joe Koski.

"Maybe that vision has already been realized and what we have and what we're losing is the best that we can possibly get," said another parent.

Students say they could count on Mr. Harrington and he helped the Templeton eagles soar.

"He's an amazing motivator and man. We don't need another principal. We need Mr. Harrington," said one student.

"I mean, you're taken an eagle away from us," said another student.

Regardless of the board's decision, parents say the principal has already left a lasting impact.

"My son broke down into tears," one parent said. "I am absolutely certain that my son will remember Mr. Harrington's name in 20 years."

A parent at Thursday night's meeting said Harrington has not spoken out against the board, but is respecting their decision.

Harrington did not come to the school board meeting because he was attending the high school's musical.

While it appears as if a decision has been made, the board has set June 30 as the official date to finalize it.

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