Sacramento high school principal says firing was ‘unlawful’

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SACRAMENTO, Calif. (KTXL) -- "I am not going to back down."

A strong, declarative statement Monday from the last principal of Christian Brothers High School as he spoke to supporters for the first time since his abrupt firing Oct.11.

In response, a strong declarative chant erupted as a struggling school community, hoping to get him back, showed their love for former principal Chris Orr.

"Orr deserves more! Orr deserves more!"

The community protested in front of the private Sacramento campus, demanding answers about the firing and Orr's return.

Orr's lawyers would only let him read from a prepared statement.

In it, Orr called out the outgoing president, Lorcan Barnes, who will leave campus this school year after announcing his resignation last July.

"The decision to abruptly terminate me is improper and it is truly troubling in light of the personnel reasons and facts surrounding his resignation," said Orr. "I believe that my termination was not only unlawful but was also completely inconsistent with the policies, rules and practices established by the Catholic Diocese."

Many supporting Orr believe his termination has something to do with the fact that he's African-American. An assistant principal who is also black was also abruptly fired recently.

That's something strongly refuted by the media and crisis communications consultant just hired on by Christian Brothers to speak about this situation.

"There's been some concern about inclusion and diversity, that is something that Christian Brothers has been committed to," said Media & Crisis Communications Consultant Roger Salazar.

People of color make up 60% of the student body, the largest minority group being Hispanic, which was emphasized in a letter sent to parents Monday. Two of seven current campus administrators are people of color.

CBHS is choosing to refer to what's happened with Orr as a departure rather than a firing.

"I'm not going to get into the differences," said Salazar. "I'm just using a different word."

Whatever's it's called, a neighbor to the school and Vice Mayor of Sacramento is monitoring the situation.

"It's important regardless of whether its a private school or a public school that transparency happen," said Sacramento Vice Mayor Eric Guerra.

"I am hopeful that we can resolve this matter expeditiously and without litigation within the courts such that I can immediately return to campus and continue serving students at Christian Brothers high school," said Orr.



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