Members of the Southbridge School Committee now have the results of the so-called Flick report regarding allegations made by school personnel against the Superintendent.
It is doubtful that the public will ever learn the results of this report.
Is it not time to ask whether this is appropriate?
After our miserable experience in this district with the administration of our school system the time has come to ask whether the results of such investigations should remain private.
It is one thing to say that the results of an investigation have exonerated the accused.
However, we know that was not the case in prior situations.
Nevertheless, existing procedures, whether in law or policy, shield those who have been found to have violated the rights or reputation of others and allow them to continue in the system. They usually continue with their careers here or elsewhere.
In so doing we are, implicitly if not explicitly, perpetuating a level of incompetence in a system that is supposedly directed toward one of the most sacred obligations of our society – the education of our children.
How many times have we retained the services of an individual who would have been summarily rejected if such information was readily available?
Further, in the current case, there are grounds to report the result whatever they are. Either the Superintendent is guilty of the offenses with which she is charged or the investigation will point up a conspiracy by subordinates to discredit her. There is no middle ground. And, in either case, the public is entitled to know. They are also entitled to judge for themselves whether the sanctions that might be imposed are commensurate with the offense.
If someone chooses a career in public service, whether it is in education, the police, the fire department, or some other capacity, they must be held accountable for their service to the public. If that trust is found to have been violated we, the taxpayers, as their employers, are entitled to make a judgment as to their culpability and their punishment. It serves no useful purpose to allow it to be swept under the rug as the result of some claim that it relates to personnel policy. It certainly benefits no one to allow them to continue in that career path somewhere else with no recognition or acknowledgement of their previous actions. Otherwise we are merely perpetuating systematic incompetence.
It is time for the results of such investigations to be made public if wrongdoing is found. It is time for our legislators to amend existing laws to reflect that accountability and to insulate the investigative body and the public from any consequences unless corruption of the process is proven.