TOOELE — The principal at St. Marguerite Catholic School in Tooele resigned Wednesday after being accused of drinking alcohol in the cafeteria while on the job.
Marcella Burden was suspended March 1 while the Catholic Diocese of Salt Lake City investigated the allegations. She was cleared of any wrong-doing and reinstated Tuesday, but less than 24 hours later she tendered her resignation.
The move came a day before a group of parents planned to protest Burden's reinstatement by taking their kids out of St. Marguerite school until the Catholic Diocese changed its mind.
Toni Bench was among those planning to withdraw her children, Colin and Allison. She said she first alerted to the alleged drinking incident when Allison came home Friday afternoon.
"She came home, and she did tell me that she saw that Marcella (Burden) was drinking," Bench said.
Based on the investigation, we conclude that no children were directly involved in the use of alcohol; few if any of the faculty or staff besides the administration actually had a drink that contained alcohol.
–Catholic Diocese of Salt Lake
Burden was suspended for a time, but was later reinstated after the Catholic Diocese sent a letter to parents, saying: "Based on the investigation, we conclude that no children were directly involved in the use of alcohol; few if any of the faculty or staff besides the administration actually had a drink that contained alcohol."
The letter wasn't enough for Bench.
"We were planning on staging a walkout, and having the parents who were willing sign (their children) out until she was relieved of her duties," Bench said.
But just hours before their planned walkout, the Diocese sent another note to parents Wednesday night.
"Effectively immediately, the Catholic Schools Office of the Diocese of Salt Lake City has accepted the resignation of St. Marguerite School Principal Marcella Burden," the statement said.
It continued: "The continued understanding and compassion of the St. Marguerite community for the school faculty and staff are greatly appreciated. Be assured that the best interests of the children have been, continue to be, and will be of paramount importance."
"I think she made the right decision for the children, for the school," Bench said.
KSL News has reached out to Marcella Burden multiple times, but she has not returned our phone calls.
For now, the Catholic Dioceses has appointed Christine Nielsen as acting principal at St. Marguerite.
Contributing: Jordan Ormond