Principal involved in 'vaginas on fire' text scandal is off the job

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ORANGE COUNTY, Fla. - The principal at Dr. Phillips Elementary School has been removed from duty just a few weeks shy of the last day of school, Channel 9 learned.

The Orange County School District sent out a recorded phone message to parents late Wednesday to say Daniel Merchant is no longer at the elementary school.

"I'm calling to inform you that Principal Merchant has been removed of duty, effective today," stated the call.

Merchant and his former assistant principal, Scott Peters, were involved in a scandal earlier this school year in which female teachers were referred to as “vaginas on fire.”

“I was kind of shocked about it, it seemed so sudden,” said parent Sherri Gregory.

In March, parents wanted him gone because of how he handled an accusation that a female student was sexually harassed by three boys.

Officials did not say why Merchant was let go.

No one answered the door at Merchant’s home when Channel 9’s Jeff Deal tried to ask why he was let go from his post.

Some parents were upset about the news.

“Mr. Merchant has always been an outstanding leader. He’s always been great with parents, always involved in activities,” said parent Summer Lee.

Other parents said with the distractions and past controversy, they see it as a chance to get the school back on track.

“We just have to hope we can get people in there that can prove to us we can trust them,” Bryan Ellis.

WFTV is working to find out whether Merchant was fired from the school district or reassigned.

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