In a written statement read to a packed meeting room, Superintendent Anthony Pope confirmed Thursday that he will not attend Marlborough's High School graduation on June 3 at the John Colleary Field House.
Mayor Arthur Vigeant read Pope's statement during a special meeting of the Marlborough School Committee that drew a standing-room crowd Thursday afternoon (see the video for full statement).
The board also addressed the recent no-confidence vote in Pope taken by the Marlborough Educators' Association [See related story].
"Graduation is a special time that issues challenges for everyone, and I do not want this to interfere with the seniors special day," Pope's statement reads. "My goal is always to put students first to ensure there are no disturbances. I am not planning to attend graduation for these reasons, to ensure that this is a special day for Marlborough High seniors.
"I will be there in spirit, wishing them good luck in all of their future endeavors," he added.
Pope's decision came after complaints by a group of students, who say that Pope behaved unprofessionally following the aftermath of the firing of Assistant Principal Adam Bakr in April. Rumors have circulated that some planned to not attend graduation if Pope was present.
Bakr has filed a wrongful termination complaint against the district, filing a prohibited practices complaint against the district and the Marlborough School Committee that accuses Pope of intimdation, coercion and claims that Pope fired Baker without just cause.
On May 16, hours after the Marlborough teacher's union handed a no confidence vote," in Pope, a clerk magistrate in Marlborough District Court ruled there was no probable cause to charge Pope for assault as requested by a high school guidance counselor.