Parents in Pembroke sounded off about being kept in the dark over the arrest of Pembroke Academy Dean of Students Rekha Luther for possessing heroin and steroids while on school grounds at last nigh’s meeting of the Pembroke School Board. At issue was the district’s failure to notify parents of the arrest and the reasons behind it. Epsom resident James Decker challenged the assertion that it was matter forbidding disclosure. Decker, who said arrests are public record, pressed the board saying if the district had chosen to fire or discipline her, those would be personnel issues. Not saying anything at all, not even disclosing the arrest, leaves parents wondering what’s going on and where the line of communication is being drawn. What if she’d been found in school with a bomb, he asked. Would there be no note home to parents because it was personnel issue?
He also challenged the assertion that no one was in any danger. The only thing that can be said with certainty, he said, was that she was caught with narcotics. There was no information about whether or not she was dealing in the school. He said it’s not possible to feel safe when nobody will say what happened.
Another parent quizzed the board about who notified the police and why. All he was told was the school notified the police. Were there needles at the school, he asked? He was told no, which contradicts what police said prompted their investigation. Was she under the influence? They refused to answer.
Hooksett parent David Pearl, a former member of the Hooksett School Board, asked what state law prohibited the district from announcing the arrest. He was told R S A 9 1-A, the state’s Right to Know Law, which protects personnel information. Pearl said that answer was “unsatisfactory” because it conflicted with the letter sent home two days ago disclosing the name of the person, their position and date of arrest. He said they couldn’t have it both ways. “Either you can say something, or you can’t,” said Pearl, who will be our guest this morning.
The Hooksett School Board gave first reading to the trans-gender policy recommended by the New Hampshire School Boards Association last night. Officials confirmed that nothing had happened in the town’s schools to prompt the proposal. Superintendent Charles Littlefield said the policy was necessary to prevent discrimination in the event a trans-gendered student came to school. School Board Member Phil Denbow said the policy seemed “radical,” expressing concern over how to balance the rights of all children. Littlefield said the policy, which requires private bathrooms for trans-gendered students if they’re uncomfortable in the bathroom of their chosen sexual identity, also required the schools to provide normal kids with private bathrooms if they were uncomfortable with trans-gendered kids being in their bathroom. The board is expected to vote on the policy at its next meeting.
Tomorrow night, the Candia School Board, which also has Littlefield as its superintendent, will take up the first reading of the policy.
News from our own backyard continues after this.
Manchester Mayor Ted Gatsas nominated Assistant Fire Chief Daniel Goonan to be the city’s next Fire Chief. If approved by the Board of Mayor and Aldermen at its meeting on April nineteenth, Goonan will take the helm after incumbent Chief James Burkush retires after thirty nine years of service. Burkush has been named Hooksett’s new fire chief. In nominating Goonan, Gatsas recounted his career in Manchester, saying it began when he was twenty one. Gatsas said Goonan quote “understands the management aspects of the department and the balance between management and rank and file…He has served us with honor and grace. He considers it his life(‘s) honor to wear the Manchester Fire Department badge. He is serious in stressful moments.” He told Goonan he was sure his father, the late Dan Goonan, a retired police officer and former Ward Seven alderman was quote: “looking down with pride this evening.”
Barry Manilow’s Yamaha N U 1 acoustic digital hybrid upright, a six thousand and five hundred dollar piano, has found its way to the Middle School at Parkside. Manilow often donates musical equipment and raises funds to school districts through his concert appearances. He was in Manchester on March fifteenth. In order to determine which school would receive the donated instrument, Superintendent Debra Livingston held an essay contest open to all the city’s schools, whose specific needs were also considered. Parkside students sent several persuasive essays about their personal experiences with music and why Parkside deserved the new piano. One clever entry featured the titles of several Manilow songs including the lines, “Maybe Somewhere Down the Road our school will get the money we need to buy new instruments,” and “Even Now I can imagine how great winning this would be.” Livingston said Parkside’s band, orchestra and choir share two older model digital keyboards and that the upright piano was beyond repair.
The Office of the Inspector General recently concluded an investigation on the Manchester V A Medical Center that revealed staff members manipulated appointment scheduling and schemed to hide long wait lists. About that, Manchester Mayor and G O P candidate for governor Ted Gatsas released a statement expressed incredulity, saying quote:
“Manipulating the schedules, hiding waiting lists, backlogs for cardiac care and in one case making a veteran wait seven months for pain care? And it took the federal government to let us know it was happening? Where was the state? We cannot rely on Washington D.C. to fix this problem. It is the Governor and state’s job to make sure the Feds are holding up their end of the bargain and making sure our veterans are receiving the benefits and care they require.”
Gatsas said he will be meeting with people over the next few days and weeks to develop solutions the state can implement to help our veterans.
From the presidential campaign trail, both Texas Senator Ted Cruz and Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders scored big wins in Wisconsin yesterday, with both scoring thirteen point victories over rivals Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton. The campaign moves next to New York where Trump still holds a commanding lead in the polls and where Sanders has considerably closed the gap against the Empire State’s former senator.
That’s news from our own backyard, Girard at Large hour ___ is next!