Tuesday, November 25, 2003

School firing brings protest

Nativity parents support Herring

By William A. Weathers
The Cincinnati Enquirer

PLEASANT RIDGE - A standing-room-only crowd of about 250 parishioners gathered Monday night to express their displeasure with the surprise firing of longtime Nativity School Principal Bob Herring.

More than 20 speakers were critical of Herring's dismissal and many of the parishioners vowed to take their protest to the Cincinnati Archdiocese today.

Parishioner Tim Cronin said he had seen Herring's dismissal letter. He said it stated that the school's principal of nearly 20 years had been dismissed because of "differences in philosophy."

Herring was informed of his firing Monday and then escorted off school grounds to his car by two staff members, Cronin said.

Monday's impromptu meeting was called by the school's Parent Teacher Association.

Many of the speakers criticized parish priest Father Marc Sherlock - who fired Herring - and called for his ouster, but PTA president Tim Garry said the meeting was called to garner support for Herring.

"The goal is to get Bob Herring back," Garry said. "I'd like to see Bob back by Monday."

"Maybe we need to put all our collections in escrow," Cronin suggested to the crowd as a means of protest.

Mark McLaughlin, who has four children at the school, said he had met with Herring for 45 minutes Monday after his firing.

"Bob is in shock," he told the crowd. "There was nothing leading up to this."

Neither Herring nor Sherlock, who has headed the parish for 31/2 years, attended the meeting. They could not be reached for comment.

Parishioner Meg Muething suggested if there are differences between Herring and Sherlock, then Sherlock is the one who should be departing. "He's a good man, but not a good fit for this parish," Muething said.

Many of Herring's supporters spoke of how much their children love him and how distressed they are with word of his dismissal.

"I've got upset children at home," one mother said.

In August, Herring, 54, of Kennedy Heights, was one of four educators in the country to receive a Global Educator Award from the National Peace Corps Association.


E-mail bweathers@enquirer.com

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