The “I didn’t know” defense?
“There isn’t a member of this board that does not know that when a legal action is threatened against the board it is a confidential matter,” said Girard. “And the leaking of that letter divulged the very information I was accused of divulging.” A motion to have school district attorneys investigate the leak failed, but a motion to ask the county attorney and/or Manchester police investigate the matter passed. That’s when Scannell admitted publicly he sent the email to the media, believing it was a public document because it was sent to all board members.
We’re back to the Manchester School Board with the issue of adult student Rachel Phelan writing an Op-Ed about the teacher negotiations, member Rich Girard emailing her on correcting her wrong information using the District’s email system, and then Scannell starting the political pile-on. We’ve written about the letter by EdLaw’s Karen Hewes already and wondered who leaked her letter. Now we know but here’s the question – will David Scannell actually be held legally responsible for his actions? Too often, those in power in Government are not – the electorate knows this and is disgusted by the fact there are rules for us, the common folk, and then a different set of rules (if at all) for the powerful. And the “if at all” is certainly the mindset of the majority of the School Board (Democrats):
Girard made a motion to have Scannell’s admission sent to legal counsel for review to determine any possible legal ramifications. That motion failed with Sarah Ambrogi, Scannell, Leslie Want, Dan Bergeron, John Avard, Katie Desrochers, and Long opposed. In favor were Girard, Lisa Freeman, Ross Terrio, Lehoux, and Beaudry. Mary Georges abstained, and Mayor Joyce Craig and Kelly Thomas were absent.
Didn’t David Scannell even have sufficient respect for the process to abstain / recuse himself?
Don’t want to see evil, do nothing anything about evil. In a perfect world, there wouldn’t even be a question but we have transitioned into tribalism in too many areas of society, chief among them the political arena. Girard knew that what was done was illegal and was used for political advantage over him. Yes, it was referred to the county attorney / Manchester PD but that was to find the leaker. Once the leaker of Hewe’s letter admitted it, those in bold decided NOT to apply the Rule of Law. He admitted his guilt – there can’t be a more admission of guilt than with a lot of your “power peers” and the public right there. Yet, they protected him. They heard his self-admitted guilt and said “So what?”
They don’t care about the message they send to both those that elected them, nor to their employees / staff, or the students entrusted to their care. That message, if they are so blind to see, is a furthering hollowing out of The Rule of Law. It shouldn’t matter if it is your family, your friends, your neighbors – or your political opponents. If you choose to ignore The Law at the School Board level, they shouldn’t be surprised if their staff starts to ignore their policies. They also shouldn’t be surprised if students start to as well. And why not?
The lesson they are teaching is that it is OK to ignore policies, regulations, and laws one doesn’t like. I was at a meeting this afternoon and this troubling idea was discussed among a few of us. We know that it is one of the pillars of our Republic – that no one is above The Law. The problem is, like DOMA, for example, and the sanctuary cities, and Seattle’s PD allowing Antifa to take over the streets, and Baltimore’s mayor proclaiming “space to destroy“; when you begin to not just ignore the law but refuse to enforce it, where will you end up? The eventual outcome, I’m afraid, is easy to see.
What we are starting to see is anarchy, even if writ small, codified. And the Manchester School Board, even if just in this one event, is helping to write it.
Girard said he intends to ask the board to reconsider the vote at its next meeting.
He should. The question is whether the Manchester School Board will recognize what they are doing?
(H/T: Union Leader)