THERE has been an outpouring of community shock, anger and support for Rod Whelan after yesterday's news about his abrupt departure as principal of Kildare Catholic College.
Mr Whelan's sudden departure was announced in a statement yesterday afternoon by Mark MacLean, Director of Schools at the Catholic Education Diocese of Wagga.
Shortly after the news, residents used social media to express their dismay and to call for answers.
A Facebook page supporting Mr Whelan was established, securing nearly 1000 likes at about 10am today.
"If you, your friends or family are concerned for Rod and our school, the best thing you can do right now is ensure that you are heard," the page states.
Resident Rebecca Ferguson said Mr Whelan was the reason her children are at the school.
"I'm shocked that the CSO [Catholic Schools office] would do this to a wonderful community man," Ms Ferguson said.
Resident and former student Shane Koetz said Mr Whelan is "an amazing" principal "with a passion for schooling that has helped hundreds of students to become both adults and leaders".
The former college captain worked closely with Mr Whelan for more than one year.
Chrissie Taylor said she thoroughly enjoyed "his care and compassion" after hearing him give a talk.
"This was the school our children were going to attend, but unless he is reinstated, then we will be needing to look around," Ms Taylor said.
The administrator of the Facebook page 'Support Rod Whelan' told TheDaily Advertiser that Mr Whelan as a valued educator can be seen from the community reactions.
"I am facilitating this page as a means to show Rod that the school and Wagga community support him," the administrator said.
"He was an inspirational leader and I think what we all want is an explanation why this has happened."
The page also calls on the community to contact the Archbishop of Canberra to have Mr Whelan reinstated.
In other news
In the statement yesterday, Mr MacLean said Mr Whelan "no longer works at the college" and that the diocese "acknowledges Rod's contribution".
"For legal and privacy reasons, I am unable to provide any additional information about this matter," he said.
"We ask for the community's understanding during this difficult time to help minimise any disruption to student learning, especially in preparation for the upcoming HSC examinations."
Last week The Daily Advertiser inquired about Mr Whelan's absence from the college and was told by the diocese that a letter had gone out to parents explaining the situation.
That letter stated Mr Whelan "will be commencing a period of leave effective 14 August 2019".
However, Mr MacLean confirmed on Friday that Mr Whelan would not be returning.