I read with interest Dan Sullivan’s Op-ed (May 20, 2021) concerning the latest action taken by the HUUSD Board on the Jacob Grout incident. The call for an independent investigation is appropriate.
Like Dan, I have experience as a coach. Dan states that he has coached hundreds of children in our district”. I have coached and taught tens of thousands. From 1979 to 2015, I was both a three-sport season coach of successful varsity boys’ and girls’ programs and a science teacher at Harwood Union High School. I also have experience coaching at the national and international level. Having both coaching and teaching experience at Harwood affords me added insight into this incident.
COMMEND SCHOOL BOARD
I commend the HU school board’s willingness to investigate this matter at taxpayers’ expense. Dan states, “The resumes of these principals are far superior to those of any board member.” While most administrators have advanced degrees, many have never been classroom teachers or coaches.
Administrators should be required to teach in the classroom and be in attendance at athletic events. In my 40-plus years of coaching I have rarely seen HU administrators (other than the athletic director) in attendance at a Harwood athletic or performing arts event. The exception to this is when Don Jamieson was principal of Harwood. Having principals in the classroom or on the sidelines will allow them to gain further insight into the internal fabric of their school.
The school board is only doing their job. The school board members’ best interest should be to meet the needs of their community members. They have received petitions, phone calls and emails from thousands of community members. They need to answer to their constituents.
I have observed first-hand the actions of HU administrators. Their actions are not always in the best interest of the community or students. In the past, I have witnessed administrators that are more concerned about the financial aspect or fear of litigation than what is best for students. Our federal government requires checks and balances so should our school governance. Allowing administrators to have full reign over the teachers, community and students also sets a poor precedent.
Over the years, recommendations from the Harwood administration have proven very unpopular. Elimination of honors classes, industrial arts, construction tech, family and consumer science and business education are just a few unpopular decisions made by the HU administration. Even after an outpouring of support from students and members of the community, the HU board eliminated these programs based upon the recommendations of the HU administration. Presently, they are trying to bring some of these programs back to Harwood.
Dan states that our high school has water being collected in trash buckets because of “roof leaks.” Just to let you know Dan. Many years ago, as a classroom science teacher, I brought this to the attention of the high school administrators. My pleas were ignored. When I said I was going to make a video and place it on social media my future position as a classroom teacher was placed in jeopardy.
Dan states that combining the two middle schools and promoting a bond issue should be the HU board’s greatest concern.
These issues have to be put on the ballot for the Harwood community. Community members will be less likely to support future recommendations by the board if the HU board and administration consistently ignore their concerns and needs.
Dan states: “let the Harwood administration do their job.” The board has every right to allow for this investigation. Even if it means holding the (recently hired by them) HU administrators’ feet to the fire.
Harwood board members do your job, investigate this issue.
Kerrigan lives in Duxbury.