The Carlisle Mosquito Online

Friday, January 14, 2000

School committee has total faith in school

To the Editor:

The superintendent, admin-istration and faculty of the Carlisle Public School have and always have had the welfare of children as their highest priority.

The superintendent and school administration have acted in a professional manner at all times and in conformance with all state and federal regulations.

The school committee has total faith in the ability and will of the entire school staff in conducting themselves in a professional and caring way.

The school committee believes that the school administration has investigated thoroughly every complaint that has been brought to its attention and taken appropriate action when warranted. We believe this to be true and that our schools are a safe, nurturing and enriching environment for learning and growing. Our beliefs, as expressed in this letter, have been confirmed by the fact that outside agencies, whose mission is to guarantee the civil rights of all, have investigated the complaints to the degree allowed by the complaining parties and have not found anything wrong with the actions of the superintendent or administration.

The school committee is confident that the superintendent, administration and staff have always acted and will act properly and in the best interest of children.

The Carlisle School Committee
Cynthia Nock
David Dockterman
Harry Crowther
Paul E. Morrison
Suzanne Whitney Smith

Time to mend the trust

To the Editor:

When I served on the Carlisle School Committee, I participated in six annual evaluations of our superintendent, Davida Fox-Melanson. The results were unanimously positive, but several points stood out every time as exceptional. First, Davida holds herself and others to the highest moral and ethical standards. Second, she works very hard to establish open and respectful communication both within the school and between the school and the community and parents. Finally, and most importantly, she cares very deeply about our children and takes her responsibility to them very seriously.

Over time, these values have permeated the school culture. Under Davida's visionary leadership, our school has become a place which fosters cooperation, life-long learning, continuous improvement, respect, and caring for all our children. It is a fine, safe school. My children, John, Peter, and Anne, all flourished there. I thank Davida and each of my children's many teachers for that.

The recent swirling controversy tears at the fabric of trust and good will which has been so painstakingly woven over the years, and it undermines so much good work throughout the school. It is best to address misunderstandings respectfully and privately, following established procedures to protect everyone's privacy and integrity. The staff and current school committee have done that. Now it is time to move on, offer our support to teachers and administrators who have served our children well, and mend the trust.

Debra Lyneis
Rutland Street

Show of parental support

To the Editor:

We are writing as a show of support to the Carlisle Public Schools' superintendent, Davida Fox-Melanson, and the seventh-grade language arts teacher, Stephen Bober. We each have had various levels of experience with these professionals over numerous years and believe that we can say unequivocally that our children have benefited from their work.

Those of us who know Davida Fox-Melanson know her to have unwavering integrity and dedication to the community's children. Her vision has expanded our children's educational opportunities into areas such as systems thinking and the Open Circle program. She ensured the development of cohesive curricula, and she has created an environment in which many excellent teachers have grown and thrived professionally. She has been an advocate for mutual respect within the school community and for open communication with the Carlisle community.

Those of us who know Stephen Bober know him to be an enthusiastic teacher who has imparted his exuberance for language arts to many middle-school students. We've seen him instill in students an excitement and love for literature while challenging them to accomplish beyond their expectations through his innovative teaching techniques, such as the portfolio assessment program.

We've watched with growing concern the division in our community over this complex matter and recognize the pain that this has caused to so many. We hope that in the future our community will continue to take a hard look at difficult issues and address them in an open and constructive manner. In this instance we trust that the administration and the Carlisle School Committee have resolved this issue appropriately and fairly. We are confident that our children are in a safe environment that is conducive to learning. The time has come to allow the outstanding team of professional educators that Ms. Fox-Melanson has organized, to resume educating our children in a positive atmosphere.

Amy and Phil Mestancik
Debbie and Steve Dawson
Priscilla Tobey
David Casey
Helen and John Lyons
Karla Johnson and J. Stewart Roberts
Abby and Ken Jeffers
Anne Wilkes
Nancy and Tim Stephens
Sarah and Basil Bennett
Pam and Ross Blair
Joan Beauchamp and Bob Fidler
Jan Carpenter
Nancy and Charles Ferraro
Kathryn Dennison
Kathy Rubenstein
Alison and Michael Saylor
Lorraine and Bob Stone
Carole and Richard Fiorentino
Priscilla and Phil Dumka
Cally and Bruce Grean
Jill and Ross Khederian
Janie and Philip Rogoff
Richard Dweck
Nancy Richards
Linda Hedblom
Laura Lunig
Nancy and Brian Anderson
Brigid Oliveri and Robert Alan Siegel
Rick Ursch
Susan Probolus, etc.

Ed. note: Over 75 signatures accompanied the above letter.

Seventh grade teachers speak out

To the Editor:

We, as the seventh-grade team of teachers at Carlisle Middle School in the school year 1998-99, feel that now is the appropriate time for us to speak about the alleged case of sexual harassment. We have remained silent mostly out of respect for the privacy of all people involved, but also because of the obvious legal ramifications.

As adults closest to the alleged situation in seventh grade last year, we feel a strong obligation at this time to state our firm belief that the allegations made against our colleague are baseless. We witnessed the action taken by the administration, and we feel that all reasonable steps were taken to help a student feel secure in her school environment. The school administration took these charges seriously, and as far as we could see, acted in an appropriate manner.

All four of us are offended by the implication and the outright accusation that we teachers were and are involved in a cover-up to protect our colleague. These charges are equally unfounded. Baseless allegations such as these continue to cause disruption to the entire Carlisle school community. We ask that they stop.

Susan Brinner, Sara E. Bysshe
Jessica Deyesso, Michael Miller

Attend next CSC meeting

To the Editor:

We feel privileged to live in Carlisle and to have our children attend the Carlisle School. We have had a very positive experience with the school and the school

personnel. We are concerned about rumors surrounding the school administration, requests for Davida Fox-Melanson's resignation and the sexual harassment case. All concerned citizens should attend the next school committee meeting to get the facts and to ensure due process is carried out. The meeting is Tuesday, January 18, at 7 p.m. at the school. The current atmosphere in the school community is counterproductive for all of our children and also for the teachers and administration. Let's get back to the business of educating our children.

Marion Cook, Alison Carey
Lori Canavan, Sarah Hart
Claudia Veitch, Angela Smith

Teacher should be left alone

To the Editor:

It doesn't make sense to make absolute statements about subjects such as teaching but, in our opinion, Steve Bober is one of the finest teachers our children ever hadcertainly better than most, if not all, that we had as well. We have had considerable first-hand experience with Mr. Bober when he tutored our son. He made an enormous contribution to our son's intellectual development and we still see his effect today. He was equally effective in the classroom environment.

It is literally a shame that a teacher with such dedication and skill should be dragged around in public by the continuing agitation surrounding one incident. Apparently, the incident has been investigated thoroughly. Surely, if any wrong-doing had occurred, something would have been done about it. Since there has been no finding of bad behavior on Mr. Bober's part, we, as a town, should apologize and leave him alone. If someone has problems or questions about school policies and procedures, he/she should address them in a general way and not let them revolve around this single incident.

Nancy and Tim Fohl
South Street

Let's move on

To the Editor:

We are dismayed at the climate of hostility that has emerged in town as a result of what has become known as the sexual harassment issue, and we wish to voice, in the strongest possible terms, our support for Superintendent Davida Fox-Melanson.

This is a wonderful human being and a terrific educator and leader we're talking about. We have had a number of occasions in which we sought her help or guidance, and each time we have found her to be, not just available and responsive, but also remarkably helpful, wise, and perceptive. She knows our children, and she knows and works brilliantly with her staff. She has fostered an incredibly strong learning environment and works continually to provide a safe and caring school community.

To call for her resignation, as some have, is, at the very least, an act far out of proportion to the matter at handparticularly given the lack of evidence that Mrs. Fox-Melanson was in any way negligent in dealing with this issue. Still more to the point, we feel to support or accept such a resignation would be a repudiation of the extensive and remarkable efforts this school administration has pursued to make the Carlisle School among the best anywhere.

The notion that the school administration and the school committee are somehow not fit to pursue the educational issues before them goes way beyond the pale (although we would agree that all could do their jobs to better effect if allowed to move beyond this crisis). Let's be grown-ups and put aside prurient interest. For reasons of privacy and fairness, we are not going to hear in a public forum explicitly what did and did not happen. So let's stop gossiping about it. Let's support those who need our support, privately, and in ways appropriate to their needs. Let's put aside other agendas and grudges. And let's get on with the business of bringing up our children, a business in which Mrs. Fox-Melanson serves us very well.

Tom Spencer and Christy Barbee
Cranberry Hill Lane

Minuteman Senior Santa helps area seniors

To the Editor:

I am writing to thank everyone who participated in Minuteman Home Care's annual Senior Santa project this year, which provides holiday gifts for homebound, often isolated, frail elders in your community.

Our two business partners in this effort, Crafty Yankee in Lexington Center and the Millipore Corporation in Bedford, came through in a big way this year, delivering over 500 beautifully wrapped presents for Minuteman staff and volunteers to deliver to our clients. Often this is the only holiday present the elders receive and their gratitude is heartwarming.

This project truly represents the spirit of giving, and the customers and employees of Crafty Yankee and the employees of Millipore deserve all our thanks for their generosity. This year, as in the past, one story emerges that leaves us speechless. A gentleman visiting the Crafty Yankee noticed that there were 11 gift tags remaining on the tree about one week before Christmas and asked Kathy Fields, the store owner, the following: "If I give you $500, will you see that all the remaining gifts are bought and delivered?" Of course she agreed, ensuring that every elder's gift request was fulfilled.

As we enter the millennium, let us all pledge to follow the example of those who gave to Minuteman's Senior Santa and do what we can to make a difference in the life of someone less fortunate. Happy New Year!

Joan Butler, executive director
Minuteman Home Care

Where is the time capsule?

To the Editor:

Roughly 20 years ago, I was a student in the Carlisle Public School system. When we were in seventh grade or so we, the students, under the guidance of our social studies teacher, buried a time capsule near to the Highland School building. This was to be unearthed in the year 2000. Does anybody know about this? I no longer live in the area and my guess is this is true for most of us who placed personal items in those barrels. I would appreciate any information anyone might have on this subject. Thank you for your time.

Heather James
37 Krysiak Ave.
Fitchburg, MA 01420

2000 The Carlisle Mosquito