PALM BEACH GARDENS, Fla. -- A principal who helped a Palm Beach Gardens High School navigate a very difficult time following the Parkland shooting is taking on a big role in the school district.
Parents and students say he leaves some big shoes to fill.
Principal Joe DePasquale at William T. Dwyer High School will be promoted to director of charter schools for the district.
Parents say he made huge strides in making the school safer, which has dealt with multiple incidents with guns on campus and school threats this school year.
A robocall sent out to parents Friday with the announcement.
"I'll remain the principal of dwyer until the conclusion of this school year," he said in the call.
The news came as a shock to parents and students, who say principal DePasquale helped them get through a challenging year following the Parkland shooting.
"I think his intentions were also good. And he's trying his best, he's trying everything he can to keep us safe," one student told WPTV.
Since January, at least three Dwyer students have been arrested making school threats or bringing loaded guns or other weapons on campus.
Students and parents said DePasquale has increased security by bringing more officers on campus, working with parents to create a safety task force and soon, the school will be requiring all students to wear student ID lanyards at all times.
"I will continue to have safety as my number one priority and keeping your children safe and secure will be my primary focus until the end of the school year," said DePasquale in the call to parents.
DePasquale was hired in 2016. In the coming weeks, the school district will start looking for his replacement.
"I appreciate all the support I've received from the parents, students and the community," he said in the call.
The parent-run group We Are Dwyer Foundation [https://wearedwyerfoundation.org/] shared this statement:
"Over the course of the last two years Mr. Depasquale has made many strides to heighten security and improve communication at the school. We wish him well in his new venture and thank him for all that he has done for William T. Dwyer."
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