A popular principal at a Collier County middle school is off the job - and students, parents and teachers are demanding that the school district tell them why.
Pamela Vickaryous was principal at Manatee Middle School for three years, until the Collier County Public School District removed her from her position without explanation on January 23. At Tuesday's school board meeting, several students let board members know they weren't happy about it.
"My heart sank," said Manatee 8th-grader Natalia Martinez.
"During my three years at Manatee Middle School, she was an outstanding principal," said Richard Morales, now a Lely High School student.
Teachers and parents also let board members know that they consider Vickaryous' removal to be a mistake.
"She has turned Manatee Middle School around from a low 'C,' to few points shy from an 'A' school," said parent Chrissy Winzenried. "Instead of offering praise that she helped the district move to fifth in the state, she was removed from her administrative position, which is extremely bizarre."
Vickaryous' supporters have started a petition at Change.org in an effort to get her reinstated as principal.
When Fox 4 asked the school district why Vickaryous was taken off the job, and about her current status with the district, spokeswoman Jennifer Kupiec said in an email: "The district does not comment on personnel issues."
At Tuesday's meeting, Vickaryous' husband Charles asked board members to investigate the reason his wife was replaced as Manatee's principal.
"I'm afraid the humane side of the business at CCPS is lacking in this case, and I need your help," he said.
When reached by phone Friday, Charles Vickaryous said he could not comment further because he is also an employee of Collier County Public Schools, but did say that his wife expected her staff to work hard towards the goal of increased student achievement.