St. Saviour

NY1: Parents Protest Firing Of Longtime Principal

In 1 on July 2, 2009 at 12:51 pm

Click the red link below to view the video

Click the red link below to view the video

Parents of a Brooklyn parish school said Wednesday they were puzzled and upset after the well-liked principal of the school was given his walking papers. NY1’s Jeanine Ramirez filed the following report.

James Flanagan, the long-time principal of Saint Saviour Parish Elementary School, was fired by the pastor in April, and in a final effort to save his job, he’s asking the Diocese of Brooklyn to get involved.

The diocese says it will not decide on that until Flanagan files a formal complaint, so for now he will not speak on camera. But parents at the school have plenty to say on Flanagan’s behalf, organizing protests and offering prayers.

“There was no explanation for why he was let go,” said parent Stephen Markey. “There’s no information to who else is coming in. We pay non-refundable deposits for our children to come to the school but there’s been no transparency.”

Flanagan has been at the helm of the school for 26 years, and parents say St. Saviour has flourished under his leadership. While many Catholic schools are struggling, this school is fully enrolled with more than 400 students.

“He is a dedicated principal. He loves the children. He loves the school,” said parishioner Gertrude Gilligan. “This is totally unjust.”

The decision to let Flanagan go came from Father Daniel Murphy. Murphy would not discuss the situation except to say that a replacement will be named in a matter of days.

Meanwhile, the Brooklyn Diocese says Murphy’s reason for getting rid of Flanagan is to move the school in a new direction. Parents said they are skeptical of that explanation.

“They haven’t said exactly what that vision is, so we don’t know what he’s really talking about,” said parent Nancy Peck.

“How do we know what we’re getting when it’s been done so sneaky?” asked parent Joyce Pastore.

Parents claim Murphy, who came to the parish nearly five years ago, wants to bring in his own people to run the school. The Brooklyn Diocese says Murphy is responsible for the hiring and firing.

Parents charge that Murphy’s excluded them from the whole process.

“I said, ‘are you willing to meet with the school board?’ and he told me said ‘no,'” claimed parent Becky McClintock. “I said, ‘would you be willing to meet with parents as a whole?’ And he said ‘no.’ And I asked when the letter was coming out to notify parents, and he said there wasn’t going to be a letter.”

Parents say Flanagan asked to be kept on for one more year, and then he would retire. They say Father Murphy turned him down.


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