Thursday, December 27, 2012

Rumors, Speculation and Fact

In writing this blog I have been careful to distinguish between rumor, speculation and fact.

One of my blog colleagues is now accusing me of perpetuating a rumor.

As it was put,
“If we have enough credible evidence to put people on leave, let's get it over with, tell the people what happened (and treat us all like grown-ups and tell us the truth), and move on. That would put one conspiracy theory in the local blogosphere to rest...that being, that the principal was put on leave for a pocket knife incident. Nothing could be further from the full truth (although, I'm sure that didn't help). Apparently I'm guilty of being a psychic.” 

Now, as I read this, I am being accused of spreading the rumor that “the principal was put on leave for a pocket knife incident.” It is merely a rumor because, “Nothing could be further from the full truth….”

How that is a conspiracy theory is not clear.

Nevertheless I will state categorically that the written notice given to Ms. Perreault cited her handling of this incident as the sole reason for which she was being put on administrative leave. I am not postulating this as rumor, speculation or a partial truth. I am stating it as a fact.

If there is the intimation of a conspiracy I presume it would be in saying that the blogger who reported that her suspension would be forthcoming knew in advance what the reason would be (that would be one hell of a conspiracy).

I did not say that nor am I saying it now.

All that I have said was that the certainty of knowing that she would be put on leave indicated that a decision had been made. Clearly the blogger in question was told that this decision had been made before the event cited as the reason for it had occurred. It now appears that acting on that decision was only awaiting a defensible cause for that action. Any other reasons, real or imagined, were not given as cause for the action.

If one wants to interpret that as a conspiracy, so be it.

We are told that one only had to overhear the conversations at the local donut shop to know that this was going to happen and why. Well, that is rumor and speculation. (It also belies the observation in his original article where he said, “Tomorrow, or early next week, you will hear some rather shocking news that few people I've spoken with saw coming.”)

When it comes to labor law in these cases one must rely upon something slightly more substantial than donut shop gossip. I am in no position to judge the validity of the charge leveled in the letter given to the principal by the temporary acting superintendent. I can merely state, as a fact, that this was the only reason given and further action will be adjudicated on the basis of that charge.

This is what I have reported, and I stand by it.


  1. If there was an active effort to make the principal's position untenable she may have grounds for unlawful termination on the basis of breach of good faith and fair dealing.

    1. Yes, I agree. If they - the school committee and acting superintendent do not have any substantial charges, then this town is going to most likely see a lawsuit or lawsuits based on these impulsive actions committed by them-the school committee and acting superintendent.

  2. Between the two incidents under "so-called" investigation, the money that will be lost to the students is going to be substantial. Right now, it would appear that Mr. Ely will be totally unemployable and will hang on to the last for a settlement (sound familiar). The thing is that paying him off will most likely be the cheaper course of action for the district.

    In the case of Ms. Perreault, she has done nothing wrong that is actionable (maybe a reprimand if she did not properly communicate the "pen knife" incident up the chain of command). Just because people don't like her style is not grounds for what happened or for her termination. I will predict that she gets a hefty settlement and her job back.

    I also predict, that adjustments will be made in the administration of SMHS. I think that it will revert to the original plan of having two principals (as it should have been in the first place).

    As a disclaimer, I have no powers of ESP.

    1. The "pen knife incident" appears to have merited being the basis for the action because of two provisions of MGL:

      MGL Chapter 269, Section 10
      (j) Whoever, not being a law enforcement officer, and notwithstanding any license obtained by him under the provisions of chapter one hundred and forty, carries on his person a firearm as hereinafter defined, loaded or unloaded or other dangerous weapon in any building or on the grounds of any elementary or secondary school, college or university without the written authorization of the board or officer in charge of such elementary or secondary school, college or university shall be punished by a fine of not more than one thousand dollars or by imprisonment for not more than one year, or both. For the purpose of this paragraph, “firearm” shall mean any pistol, revolver, rifle or smoothbore arm from which a shot, bullet or pellet can be discharged by whatever means.

      Any officer in charge of an elementary or secondary school, college or university or any faculty member or administrative officer of an elementary or secondary school, college or university failing to report violations of this paragraph shall be guilty of a misdemeanor and punished by a fine of not more than five hundred dollars.

      MGL Chapter 71, Section 37L
      Section 37L. The school committee of each city, town or regional school district shall inform teachers, administrators, and other professional staff of reporting requirements for child abuse and neglect under section 51A of chapter 119 and the reporting requirements for fires under section 2A of chapter 148.

      In addition, any school department personnel shall report in writing to their immediate supervisor an incident involving a student’s possession or use of a dangerous weapon on school premises at any time.

      Supervisors who receive such a weapon report shall file it with the superintendent of said school, who shall file copies of said weapon report with the local chief of police, the department of children and families, the office of student services or its equivalent in any school district, and the local school committee. Said superintendent, police chief, and representative from the department of children and families, together with a representative from the office of student services or its equivalent, shall arrange an assessment of the student involved in said weapon report. Said student shall be referred to a counseling program; provided, however, that said counseling shall be in accordance with acceptable standards as set forth by the board of education. Upon completion of a counseling session, a follow-up assessment shall be made of said student by those involved in the initial assessment.

      A student transferring into a local system must provide the new school system with a complete school record of the entering student. Said record shall include, but not be limited to, any incidents involving suspension or violation of criminal acts or any incident reports in which such student was charged with any suspended act.

  3. It is great that you can site the Law, but in the eyes of the law she is in compliance . . . the police were involved....

    1. I wasn't passing judgment, just providing information.


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