By John Kerrigan

At their June 24 board meeting the Harwood Board voted 6 to 5 to drop their investigation into the firing of Harwood varsity ice hockey coach Jacob Grout.

The esteemed Dr. Butsch supported the investigation and gave a personal address. The decision to not open an investigation was also made in spite of the receipt of an online petition signed by 1,382 voters.

This issue has evolved into a bit more than the firing of the popular ice hockey coach.

As all good coaches, Jacob taught his athletes respect. Respect for one another, the opposing players, fans, coaches and officials. In order to get respect, you must give respect. That in turn supplies honesty and trust.

Harwood board members were not even respectful to their own due process. Grout never met with athletic director Chris Langevin. This chain of command was skipped. The decision to fire Grout was an autocratic decision made by our superintendent. I’m not a lawyer, but it would appear that Grout would have a good legal case since he was not given due process and the chain of command was not followed

It appeared that many of the board members did not know of Dr. Butsch. Board chair Torrey Smith was respectful and thanked him for speaking but no one seemed to know of Dr. Butsch. A brief introduction may have enhanced his standing with the board. His credibility within our community is outstanding. He is a remarkable human being and his concerns should have counted more with the board. He was limited to three minutes and treated by the board as if he was just another snake-oil salesman.

At the last board meeting, as members were moving away from the Jacob Grout incident and on to other business, at least one of the members remarked that they need to engage the community to support the bond.

Wow! Even my young high school science students would have been more analytical. One should realize that these two topics are related.

This is a good example of the hypocritical behavior on behalf of our board that our community has witnessed during the tenure of our superintendent.

One thousand three hundred eighty-two people signed a petition supporting the reinstatement of Jacob Grout. That is 1,382 disgruntled voters and their friends, relatives and neighbors that may not support the bond come November.

If the Harwood board is to promote a bond, they will need a champion in the community to come forward and actively support it.

Someone like Dr. Butsch could have been this champion. He was honored in 2013 with a Vermont Senate resolution praising him for his surgical skills and compassionate treatment of others. As one enters the lobby of CVMC a large portrait of Dr. Butsch can be seen. Dr. Butsch is also the co-founder of the Central Vermont Civic Center. His efforts have allowed thousands of youth to engage in a sport in which they may not have had access. At 79 years young he is still actively playing ice hockey and mixes it up with local adults and youths.

This is the type of person you want on your first line. Dr. Butsch performed many colostomies during his tenure as a surgeon. The Harwood board just gave one to Dr. Butsch and the Harwood community!

Good luck Harwood board with your bond issue. I think you are going to need it.

Kerrigan lives in Duxbury.