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Past incident comes to light days after principal resigns

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Just days after resigning from the Germantown Municipal School District reports began to surface that former Houston High School principal Kyle Cherry was involved in an alcohol related incident last July that included propping and ascending a ladder outside of a colleague’s house.

Citing “overwhelming stress and pressures” of the position, Cherry stepped down as principal on April 20. He had held the job for nearly four years.

But less than a week later, police offense reports emerged indicating that Cherry was nearly charged with “criminal trespassing” and “observation without consent” last summer.

Dispatchers with the Germantown Police Department received a call at around 11:30 p.m. on July 31, 2017 from a 19-year-old who stated that she had heard noises downstairs. Upon further inspection, she noted that the front door was also cracked open.

When officers arrived they found the gate to the back yard open. A wooden ladder was also leaning against the house underneath the woman’s second story bedroom window. A pair of sandals were found at the base of the ladder and a beer can was located near the gate.

Officers asked the woman to call her father, who was out of town, to determine if the sandals and ladder were his. He said the ladder was supposed to be in the back yard and that the sandals were not his.

While speaking to officers, the woman said she heard noises earlier and had attempted to text her mother, who was sleeping downstairs.

When her mother, a teacher at Houston High School, did not reply, she walked downstairs and noticed that the front door was cracked open.

She then turned on the outside lights and saw a man walking down the opposite side of the street. Police reports indicate that the man resembled Cherry.

“When she shined a light on him,” reports state, “he walked behind a tree to hide. She then woke her mother up and told her what happened.”

When the daughter informed officers that the man she had seen outside resembled the former Houston principal, her mother said that Cherry was her “boss.”

“She did not seem to want to say much about him at all,” reports state. “Slowly, she began to say more about him and how they are ‘very, very close friends. More than friends but not sexually.’”

The mother said she had gone out with Cherry earlier in the evening.

“Then they both went home,” reports state.

When officers went to retrieve prints from the beer can and the sandals, the mother said, “why are you going to take fingerprints? I’m sure they will come back to him.”

She also stated that she did not wish to press charges.

When asked if Cherry had visited the house before, the daughter said that he had been over “multiple times” with co-workers and for his 50th birthday.

The daughter also recalled that, “approximately two weeks prior to the incident, she and her father were walking through the house to get in the car to go get gas when they observed a white male in the back yard.”

“The male was Mr. Kyle Cherry,” reports state. “They spoke with him and realized he was very intoxicated and had no explanation to why he was there.”

Police reports indicate that Cherry returned to the house the morning after the ladder incident and apologized to the family.

He told them that he placed the ladder by the window but “assumed it was (the mother’s) room.”

“Before he was about to knock on the window,” reports state, “he stated that he thought it would be ‘creepy.’ So he got off the ladder and went to the front door.”

On Aug. 1, 2017, the Germantown Police Department contacted Cherry. He admitted to opening the door but said he did not enter the residence.

“Cherry was every apologetic,” reports state.

He told officers that he had made a “stupid mistake, which was caused by an emotional night and drinking alcohol.”

Cherry was reprimanded by Superintendent Jason Manuel on Aug. 25. An internal investigation by the school district determined that the incident was a “one-time lapse in judgement.”

In a statement to faculty members, Cherry, who was named Houston’s principal in 2014 when the Germantown Municipal School District was created, cited the “overwhelming stress and pressures” of the position as the reason for his departure.

He noted that the job had “taken a tremendous toll” on him “as a person, as a father, as a husband, as a family member, and as a friend.”

“I now need to practice what I preach and put family first,” he concluded.

Cherry’s last day was April 20. He has worked at Houston since 2009.

Prior to his arrival at Houston, Cherry worked as a middle school assistant principal in Monroe, Ga. and then as a high school assistant principal and middle school principal in Oregon, Wis.

He earned his Bachelor’s degree in Social Sciences Education from the University of Wisconsin-Platteville in 1990 and taught for 10 years in Midfield, Ala., Hazel Green, Wis. and Winder, Ga.

Assistant Principal Rob Taylor will be the interim principal for the remainder of the school year.

Taylor began his career in education in 1992 as a history teacher at East High School. While at East, he coached football and baseball. After teaching for three years, he accepted a history teaching position at Houston. Since joining Houston he has coached football, wrestling and softball. He has been an assistant principal since 2004.

Rob Taylor

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