The Hooksett School Board voted to table a proposed policy that would allow transgendered students to use locker and bathroom facilities and play on sports teams of the gender they identified with rather than the gender they were born with. The unanimous vote put the proposal on the table indefinitely.
Policy Committee Chairman James Sullivan, who originally said the policy was brought forward to be “proactive” on the matter, recommended the tabling Tuesday night because the policy wasn’t required and because he believed the district would be well prepared to deal with the issue should it ever arise. In response to questions posed by Girard at Large, Sullivan said he was uncomfortable bringing the policy forward two weeks ago because he didn’t think it was necessary, but thought it should come forward because it had been sent by the New Hampshire School Boards Association, which provides them with policy assistance.
The Candia School Board will take up the second reading of the same policy Hooksett tabled at its meeting on May fifth. The proposal brought dozens of parents out to the board’s last meeting, which became heated at times, with board Chair Nicole LaFlamme threatening to have an unruly member of the public removed by police. Some in attendance learned about the proposal after receiving a flier which advertised quote “Pedophiles are coming! Warning!! Parents!”
The flier was wrongly attributed to the Girard at Large Radio Show and one of its contributors, Ann Marie Banfield of Cornerstone Action, because it referenced the show’s Web site and blog and Banfield’s name and did not identify authorship. Radio show host Rich Girard offered a $1,000 reward for information leading to the identity of the person or persons who distributed the leaflets and filed a complaint with the Candia Police Department. Candia Police Chief Michael McGillen discovered the political piece was handed out by David Carlson, a pastor from Manchester. In an interview on Girard at Large, Carlson apologized for the flier’s wording saying he wanted to get people’s attention and didn’t intend to imply we were its originator. He said he wasn’t trying to hide from anyone as he attended the school board meeting in question.
Back in Hooksett, now, the Hooksett School Board also received a final report detailing what would be required for the town to institute full day kindergarten and outlining the pros and cons of the move.
The Hooksett Town Council plans to swear in retiring Manchester Fire Chief James Burkush as its new fire chief on Wednesday, April twenty seventh. As a retiree collecting a pension from the New Hampshire State Retirement System, Burkush will work no more than thirty two hours per week and collect an annual salary of ninety nine thousand dollars, without benefits, in addition to his one hundred forty thousand dollar pension.
News from our own backyard continues after this.
No, I am not claiming that those laws prohibited me from announcing that an arrest was made.
The safety risk was reviewed and it was determined that there was no safety risk to students or staff and a decision was made that the school would defer from making an announcement about the arrest as the police continued to conduct their criminal investigation, and in order to afford Ms. Luther a fair and unbiased hearing before the Board.
That’s what Pembroke Superintendent of Schools Patty Sherman wrote to Pembroke parent David Pearl in an email less than an hour before the Pembroke School Board’s scheduled meeting this past Tuesday. Pearl and Sherman exchanged several emails over the preceding five days with Pearl questioning what state and federal laws Sherman was referring to in the letter she sent to parents explaining why the district didn’t notify them of the arrest of Pembroke Academy’s Dean of Students Rekha Luther on drug possession charges after having been found to have heroin and anabolic steroids on school grounds during an investigation by Pembroke police.
In the letter to parents, Sherman said state and federal laws prevented the district from notifying parents of Luther’s arrest on school grounds because to do so would violate her privacy rights. She then went on to describe the details of the arrest in the letter, which contradicted the assertion its disclosure was prevented by law. Pressed by Pearl in public session at the school board meeting on April fifth, Sherman said the state’s Right to Know Law, R S A 9 1-A, was the state law referred to in the letter, because it prevented the disclosure of information about personnel matters.
Up until Sherman’s admission that district officials decided not to inform parents of the arrest because they didn’t believe there was a safety risk to students and staff, she had put off replying to Pearl saying alternately the school board or its chairman, Thomas Serafin, would provide answers to Pearl’s questions about what she, Sherman, wrote and said publicly about state and federal laws. Of course, we now know they had no intention of answering Pearl’s questions in public this past Tuesday as he was prevented from even raising the questions by Serafin who said the Right to Know Law prohibited the public from discussing employees in public session.
We’ve linked to the interview we did with Pearl yesterday, where we played clips of the jaw dropping audio of Serafin shutting Pearl down, along with some very pointed audio from parents and students.
Congrats to the folks at Goffstown High School. Not only have their football and girls basketball teams won state championships this year, the school itself has again been recognized by U. S. News & World Report as one of the nation’s best high schools. According to the rankings, Goffstown High is the fourth best high school in the state and is in the top ten percent nationally, which means they earn another silver medal. Good for them!
That’s news from our own backyard! Girard at Large hour ___ is next!