The race for school board in Ward 2 is the kind of contest that makes most political observers both cringe and giggle.  It features venerable incumbent Debra Gagnon Langton and her opponent David Scannell, a self aggrandizing leftist ideologue willing to say anything to make himself look relevant, if not impressive.  A former aide to Mayor Robert A. Baines, former Executive Director of the New Hampshire Democratic Party and an English teacher, Scannell’s had a lot of time and practice mastering the Art of Deception.

As proof, let’s take a look at just one of the propaganda pieces he’s published.

At the end of July, Scannell distributed a “Dear Neighbor” piece and published an identical companion called “Fighting for Manchester’s Kids” on social media.  In it, he made a number of claims that artfully created a series of “straw-man” issues he lionized himself for knocking down.  Of course, none of it made Langton, an effective advocate for constructive change, look like she had a clue or even cared.

In stating he would be a “force for positive change,” Scannell quoted his false public complaint, made last September, accusing the Superintendent Search Committee, which Langton chaired, of wanting to

“prevent Manchester citizens from fully participating in the selection process for a new school superintendent,”

because, he alleged, there was only one opportunity for the public to meet and question the superintendent candidates.

Not one for fanfare, Langton privately responded to Scannell with an email advising him that, in addition to the hearing he referenced, each of the principals hosting the superintendent candidates had been asked

“to invite parents, students, staff and whomever else they believed should attend”

because the committee had arranged a fifteen to twenty minute Q & A session at each school and that all present would be asked to complete an evaluation form.

Undeterred from his narrative, Scannell replied by commending Langton for “making these adjustments” and now, as a candidate, claims credit for changes that were not made because the committee followed its original plan.

Another piece of eye popping propaganda was that Scannell said he fought to prevent drug addiction because he wrote an opinion piece criticizing members of the school board for wanting the administration to notify parents of surveys that queried kids about drug use, sexual activity and a variety of other behaviors; notification required by board policy, state law and federal law.  He claimed censorship because administrators were taken to task for failing to properly notify parents of their right to review the survey in advance and opt their students out.

What’s really bizarre about him extolling his own virtue in “preventing drug addiction” is that, while working as the spokesman for the school district, which he did in between working for Baines and the Democratic Party, he voted, as a state rep., to decriminalize marijuana.  He ultimately resigned over the intense criticism that followed his vote, his critics saying i was in conflict with the district’s anti-drug policies.  According to Tym Rourke, then Executive Director of Makin’ It Happen, a teen drug and alcohol prevention outfit that works with the Manchester School District, Scannell’s vote sent

“a ‘dangerous’ message that marijuana use is ‘not a big deal.’”  (NH Sunday News, 3/23/08)

All this considered, Scannell’s biggest claim to superhero status is that he saved Central High.  Again, quoting from his own opinion piece and praising his social media prowess, he claimed to

“prod the Board of Mayor and Aldermen to pass a resolution vowing to save Central.”

Reading this proud pronouncement, one might think the Little Green was in danger of being closed and (thank God!) he came to the rescue!  In fact, he did little more than over-react to some “thinking out loud” comments that came from a talk show.

While there had been some informal and non-official discussion over what to do about the loss of about 3,200 students from Central, West and Memorial over the past 11 years, there was, and has since been, no proposal to close Central.  Nonetheless, he attacked Langton because she “remained silent” in the face of a non-existent threat.

In asking people to vote for him, Scannell proclaimed himself “a fighter,” and claimed he

“hoped to be able to fight on your behalf as a member of the Board of School Committee.” 

What the record shows is that Scannell is really a shadow boxer who throws low blows using distorted or non-existent claims from the Land of Make Believe.

Publisher’s Note:  Click here for another example of Scannell’s adventures in the Land of Make Believe. ~Publius