The Shakerite

Board President’s Statement at Nov. 14 Meeting

Jeffery Isaacs addressed recent events in his introduction to the Nov. 14 Board of Education meeting.

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It’s probably an understatement for me to say that recent events and personnel issues have attracted quite a bit of public attention.

I know. I live here too, as does every board member at this table. We get your emails, and we read them. The discussions in meetings and on social media involve our friends, our neighbors, the teachers who teach our children and the coaches who coach our teams—and most importantly, our children. We understand the urgency. We understand that we’ve got a large problem. The buck stops with us. You elected us to lead. So lead we will.

We know we can do better, and we are working to do better. We understand that our community is looking for action, not more words. To that end, we have taken action.

We have students here at the High School who believed they were being bullied by a teacher. Those complaints were investigated.

We as a board value all of our teachers. We know that they do the most important work in the District. And, we have to balance that knowledge with the concerns raised by our students and families. In fact, we have a moral and legal responsibility to do so.

We have to listen. It harms our students to insinuate publicly that they are not telling the truth. I personally have been discouraged by social media posts questioning the character of our students. Any one issue is challenging enough, but this is so much more complicated because there have been several issues at the High School within a few weeks.

We also had a problem with the football team. A guy serving as an assistant coach was not on the payroll. He has a criminal record and never would have passed a background check. He’s gone. So is the head coach. We eliminated the entire coaching staff and we’re starting over.

We had an assistant cheerleading coach accused of body-shaming. We’ll have a new team installed shortly.

We have a high school principal who has been placed on leave, pending a review.

The bottom line—when we found out about a problem, we acted. Not always as fast as we should. Not always perfectly. But we acted the best we could for our students. There is often a conflict between the rights and privacy of employees and the rights of parents to know what is going on. In none of these instances were students in any danger. So we will deal with these situations, one by one, and get our house order. You have my word on that.

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Board President’s Statement at Nov. 14 Meeting