Students protest departure of Peoria Notre Dame Principal

By Beau Ebenezer

February 28, 2014 Updated Feb 28, 2014 at 11:50 AM CDT

PEORIA, Ill. -- Peoria Notre Dame students still have questions about their principal's sudden departure from the school.

Students showed their support in a special way Thursday night at a girl's basketball game in Chillicothe.

Dozens of Fighting Irish fans filled the rowdy section during the sectional championship game.

Many wore a tie representing their former principal, Charlie Roy.

"He loves the uniforms," said PND Junior Tom Liesse. "Trust me. Dating back to fourth grade, he has been very strict on the uniforms. They are important to him, and things that are important to him are important to us."

Wednesday night, many students and faculty found out Roy was leaving his position immediately.

Once word spread, students organized a sit-in at the school Thursday morning, demanding answers for the abrupt departure.

"It was sad and shocking how sudden it was," said Braedon Blackford. "One day he was our principal, and the next day he was gone. He can't finish the year."

News 25/HOI 19 obtained the following letter from Roy.

Dear Irish,

I wanted to write and let you know that I've accepted a new position as the president of Villanova Prep in Ojai California. The position is a great opportunity for me as well as my family. Please know the decision to leave was very difficult. For the past seven years it has been my pleasure to serve as your principal. Whatever you've learned from me please know I've learned more from you. Peoria Notre Dame is a blessed community. I wish you the best in all your future endeavors and please know that you will always be in my prayers.

Mr. Randy Simmons will fill in for me as interim principal throughout the remaining school year to help provide me with the time I need to transition to my new position which will begin this summer. Mr. Simmons and I have been friends and colleagues for the past ten years and the school is in capable hands. A search for the new principal of Peoria Notre Dame will begin soon.

Please know that my family and I have been tremendously blessed to be a part of the Peoria Catholic community for the last fourteen years. I've had the privilege to meet so many wonderful families and work with thousands of great students. In many ways the faculty at PND have been my family and they have helped me grow into the person that I am.

Be well and Yours in Christ,
Charlie Roy

Peoria Notre Dame officials released a statement saying in part, "Mr. Roy has been innovative and effective in his approach to education at the secondary level. We will miss him and will pray for Charlie and his family to have a safe and smooth transition to California. We wish him success and happiness in this new and exciting venture."

But students still question why Roy couldn't finish out the year.

"He hasn't really given us a perspective on why he thinks he had to leave immediately or whether he chose to leave immediately," said PND Junior Jimmy Kellock. "We don't even know if it was his choice or the administration's choice."

Roy had been the Principal at Peoria Notre Dame since July 2007.

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