Last night’s meeting of the Southbridge School Committee was a low point in the history of public meetings in this community.
Given the depths to which such meetings have sunk in the past, that is indeed an unenviable – even if record-breaking – accomplishment.
The only bright spot of the evening was a presentation to elementary school students Jayce Delgado and Tyler LaCroix and second grade teacher Paula Kenda. The quick thinking of the students in reporting an incident to Ms. Kenda potentially saved the life of a choking student.
Following the recognition of these individuals for their meritorious action the balance of the meeting deteriorated into seriocomic psychodrama.
The next item on the agenda was listed as:
B. College and Career Readiness/Scholarships/Overall Guidance Presentation
1. Members of the Southbridge Public Schools Guidance Department
2. Colleen Culligan, Director, Pupil Personnel Services
The agenda was set on Thursday and published on this site last Friday. However, a number of sources have reported that those making the presentation were only advised of their responsibilities after lunch on Tuesday (i.e. yesterday).
Whatever the case, the presentation can only be characterized as disjointed and confusing.
What followed was an orgy of outrage, vituperation and humiliation directed at the presenters by school committee members.
It was a display that, even as it was ongoing, was characterized by numerous viewers, myself included, as a premeditated ambush by the administration and school committee to deflect recent criticisms away from themselves and onto school personnel.
Following this was a presentation by School Superintendent Buzz Nembirkow on the FY 2015 school department budget.
At least, that’s what the agenda called for. What transpired was a self-reflective apologia that leveled blame at all of his and the current school committee’s predecessors for every failing ranging from school choice expenses to global warming.
Words alone cannot do justice to this theater of the absurd. We anxiously await the posting of the video on Southbridge Cable’s YouTube site in order to adequately illustrate the night’s escapades. We can only hope that it appears with greater alacrity than was the case with the last meeting.
The evening was capped off by the announcement from school committee member Tanya Dominko that this would be her last meeting as a result of her moving out of Southbridge and thus no longer meeting residency requirements.