Mayor and school leaders defend ousted principal

Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School principal Washington Collado forced out

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. – Parents and community leaders are questioning why the principal at an 'A' high school in Parkland lost his job.

Parkland Mayor Michael Udine and countless others were upset when they heard Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School principal Washington Collado lost his job.

"This came out of left field for us and was very concerning as parents and community leaders," said Udine.

"I think Mr. Collado has done an amazing job at Douglas," said Jan Hediger, president of the school's Parent Teacher Student Association.

Broward Schools Superintendent Robert Runcie said Tuesday that Collado and at least 14 others principals across the county lost their positions to find better fits for the schools, a sentiment echoed by Broward School Board member Rosalind Osgood.

"Let's just say they are not a fit for that particular school," said Osgood.

But parents disagreed.

"I have never seen an administrator so involved with all the kids in the school," said Student Advisory Forum chairwoman Andrea Schaja. "We're an 'A' school, where we weren't before he came."

One of the new criteria used to remove the principals was complaints received. Parents worry Collado was forced out because he supported cheerleading coach Melissa Prochilo, who was fired despite being cleared of any wrongdoing involving her team.

"It's about conflict going on at that school. Anyone in that school is going to have a hard time being effective with that going on," Runcie told Local 10's Bob Norman.

"It should concern everyone if a small group of people can get rid of a principal for any reason," added Schaja.

Students at Stoneman Douglas High School are expected to rally in support of Collado on Thursday.