Coming on the heels of the recent arrest of the Gilford school superintendent in Concord for assault and domestic violence assault, I appeared at the meeting of the Gilford School Board this past Monday evening, and the following are somewhat modified excerpts from my public remarks:
Domestic violence is a longstanding plague that has been swept under the carpet for too long. Finally, after years of ignoring the problem or pretending that it does not exist, when our police find probable cause that a domestic violence assault has taken place, they make arrests. But they must always find probable cause to make an arrest. No probable cause, no arrest.
Leadership can take many forms, But leadership usually presupposes setting an example for others to follow.
The superintendent’s actions that resulted in his arrest were not so-called white-collar, non-violent crimes but rather were crimes of physical violence that have brought the Gilford schools into disrepute. And further, he has set a terrible example for our children, the staff of the schools, the SAU, and the entire town.
While I have filed a 91-A request to try to ascertain if the superintendent is being paid with taxpayer money while he is no longer performing the duties of his position [it was reported that he is on “administrative leave,” either placed in that status by himself or by the school board], the school board may attempt to hide behind possible exemptions in 91-A to refuse to provide the pertinent information that the people of our town want to know and are entitled to know.
And if the “leadership” of the school board stands by and refuses to cast out the superintendent for his criminal behavior, they become complicit in his behavior and tell the world that they find it acceptable.
The citizens of Gilford and the children in its government schools and their parents are entitled to have our elected officials and those appointed by them held to the highest standards of probity and lawful good conduct.
We deserve better than we have received from the superintendent and the Gilford School Board. A lot better.
So, after the foregoing, I waited for any member of the School Board to respond and explain, but the silence was deafening. Nothing said by them. They sat there like the classical three monkeys (although there are 5 members of that board). The only thing missing to make the image complete was the placement of their hands over their eyes, ears, and mouths.
So stood up again and added that I filed a formal complaint against the superintendent with the NH Department of Education requesting an investigation and determination of whether his conduct violated any applicable codes of conduct and asking that his “credentials” issued by the DOE be revoked or, at the least, suspended until his criminal case has been finally adjudicated.
And I stated that if the members of the School Board cannot or will not do the right thing regarding this matter, they should step down.
Instead of responding, they then adjourned to a non-public meeting, which resulted in a brief statement reportedly to the effect that the superintendent was now on leave.
All in all, an insulting performance by our public officials, who should be ashamed of themselves.