Parkland Stoneman Douglas school principal step down at end of school year.
Marjory Stoneman Douglas Principal Ty Thompson announced Friday afternoon that he will step down at the end of the school year, about 16 months after the mass shooting.
Thompson has been under investigation by the Broward School District and in March was given new duties at the Parkland school, where 17 people were murdered.
His decision to leave has nothing to do with the investigation, said Lisa Maxwell, executive director of the Broward Principals and Assistants Association.
“This decision today is all about Ty’s health, his family and his need to care of himself,” Maxwell said. “He’s spent the last more than a year taking care of everybody else, and now it’s his time.”
Thompson’s planned departure is yet another administrative shakeup since a former student opened fire at the school Feb. 14, 2018. Stoneman Douglas added a second principal last spring and transferred three assistant principals in November to jobs while investigating their roles in the massacre.
Thompson, principal for six years, was not on campus when the shooting happened. He was set to take a vacation and was pulled off a plane on a runway before departing.
Thompson, 47, said in his pre-recorded robocall that his heart was heavy with his difficult decision to move on, but the challenges of the past year had taken their toll and he “just can’t continue at this pace.”
“Advisors and fellow colleagues always said take care of yourself. If at any point you feel like it is affecting your family or your health you need to make a change,” he said. “That time has come.”
“I wanted to stay and see this through but I just can’t continue at this pace,” Thompson said. “My decision was not an easy one. The district is supporting me so I can step away from my position at MSD.”
The popular and spirited principal said he will remain at the school through graduation and will do “everything I can to leave the school in the best shape possible for the next Principal.”
Thompson was admonished in December by the state panel commissioned to investigate the school massacre for not being informed on how his administration handled student threats.
“It’s not part of the protocol to bring it to me,” he told the panel.
Thompson could only guess at the number of official “threat assessments” the school conducted on students each year and “really had no idea of the process,” according to the commission.
The school district’s investigation of Thompson is expected to be completed by the end of the school year, said Nadine Drew, a spokeswoman for Broward School District.
“I’ll believe that when I see it,” Maxwell said. “The district is just not able or capable of wrapping these things up quickly.”
Maxwell said she doesn’t know where the investigation stands but she expects to be able to show contradictions when it’s completed.
“We’ll be able to show that,” she said.
Thompson concluded his announcement by saying “this is not goodbye, you will still see me around.”
“While I will no longer be the leader at MSD, I will continue to support the Eagle Nation, as I will always be positive, passionate, and forever proud to be an Eagle.”
Thompson, who has led the school since 2013, in March gave up day-to-day operations while he was being investigated. He had instead been overseeing recovery efforts as well as construction plans for a new building to replace the one where the shooting happened.
Those duties had been handled by former West Broward Principal Teresa Hall, who will take over Thompson’s old job.