The mess in Arlington schools (and how to fix it)
The abrupt resignation of an Arlington middle school principal and the detailed letter she released explaining her grievances with the district’s superintendent has left the system in a mess -- and nobody is looking especially good at the moment.
Williamsburg Middle School Principal Kathy Francis stunned her community this week with her 1,700-word letter that accuses Superintendent Patrick K. Murphy of creating a hostile work environment.
Further, she wrote, Murphy stopped her for two years from dismissing an employee, whom she did not name but did call not only “incompetent” but “a safety concern.” The person was, she said, finally transferred to another Arlington school.
Neither side has acquitted them well in this episode so far.
The excruciating detail that Francis revealed in her letter was unnecessary, but beyond that, her description of the transferred employee as a “safety concern” raised a number of issues that she failed to address. And, so far, neither has the superintendent.
Both of them have been unfair to the public by refusing to publicly explain what happened. Some parents are imaging worst-case scenarios about exactly what the safety concern was with this employee.
District officials should find some way to explain what happened and reassure the public that nothing inappropriate has taken place. If there is something questionable about what happened, an investigation should be undertaken by the School Board.
Until this addressed, the mess isn’t likely to go away.
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| February 3, 2011; 2:58 PM ET
Categories: Educational leadership, Middle School | Tags: arlington public schools, arlington schools, kathy francis, patrick k. murphy, principal fired, principal letter; arlington schools, principal quits, supt. murphy, williamsburg middle school
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