LETTER: Former Student Takes Issue with Current Superintendent

A reader calls for a school committee investigation, saying the culture of MPS has shifted toward an unhealthy environment.

To the Editor:

As a former  student and the brother of a high school junior, I am ashamed of the way that the school district has had its reputation tarnished by this superintendent. The superintendent I speak of is Dr. Anthony Pope. He came to the school district with a message of hope, a vision of turning into a world class school district; instead it has become a world class laughing stock.

Every morning, I open up the news and find yet another story about my former school district that leaves me wondering where the leadership is. Whether it is the mysterious firing of an assistant principal, accusations of assault on a teacher or accusations of bullying and intimidating students, Dr. Pope seems to be at the center of all of this drama.

I have watched school committee meetings for the past few months on local TV and instead of addressing the issue, the school committee has tiptoed around it. Students, teachers and concerned parents have , and while some of them may not be true, just the idea that one of them could be true should call for an investigation from the school committee.

A lot of speculation has come about regarding whether the school committee is concerned about the well-being of the city and the school district or the well-being of their positions. I second this speculation. A lesson many of us are taught at a young age is to admit when we make a mistake. Perhaps it is time for the Marlborough school committee to admit they made a mistake and show the taxpayer-funded Dr. Anthony Pope the door just as


Mhs grad April 23, 2012 at 06:11 PM
I personally know Mr Bakr from a long time ago. I don't even know the whole story, but if a teacher or coach is in a relationship with a student and someone of athority who supervises these people knows...I agree that person should be fired. Plus, that's sickening that a teacher had a relationship with a student. I can only imagine sending my daughter to school knowing a teacher is after her. How sick if that's what was going on there.
Me April 23, 2012 at 06:25 PM
Mhs grad - I totally agree with what you have said and have known Mr. Bakr the 5 years my daughter was at MHS and never had a complaint about him. Now, the RUMORS I have heard don't really have Bakr in the wrong, except for a delay in reaction to what he knew or found out was going on. Maybe he was making sure the "rumors" were true before accusing the teacher?!?!? Also rumored, the student was 18 a legal adult BUT still a student and still wrong. c17a3 makes it sound like it was a 14 year old girl.EVERTHING I HAVE STATED IS RUMOR, there may be some slight truth to it or none at all.
MhsStudent April 23, 2012 at 06:46 PM
@MAMom I think its wise for you to not say anything. Marlborough was in danger or losing it's accreditation 20 years ago. The whole accreditation mess, came up in 2009, because the teachers were on "strike" and their contracts were not being renewed by the Mayor, which lead to students to march ( as they have been doing now) to city hall and demand answers. In the end Marlborough did not lose it's accreditation. @MhsGrad- Just as an example, there are two students whom I know from my grade, were accepted into Brown. So clearly you don't know what you're talking about. Do you also realize the economy is in the toilet? As more people graduate , the opportunities shrink. Meaning it's not MHS' fault , if you or anyone you know got a crappy job. You are you're own person, stop blaming other things or other people and take some responsibility. Before you criticize Suzanne's post, check this out it explains how Marlborough is the best place to raise kids. http://images.businessweek.com/slideshows/20101214/the-best-places-to-raise-your-kids-2011/slides/22 Now, before you go many assumptions of Mr. Bakr, I think its wise to wait till the truth comes out. Which it will. @c17a3- I do not know of the decision, the staff at MHS have refused to say anything. Its interesting you mention that you read the newspaper when none of them have said about an inappropriate relationship regarding a coach or a students. From that it seems you continue to listen to rumors.
Me April 23, 2012 at 06:47 PM
I went to Assabet, my parents wouldn't allow us to go to MHS. Bakr always did good by my daughter and she wasnt an angel. She'll be the first one to tell you if i wasnt for him she would have quit school. Being in his office just as much as my daughter, I would put money on he made the right decision for whatever the true story is. Hmmm c17a3 has been quiet, must be reading the Home Journal!
MhsStudent April 23, 2012 at 06:51 PM
@MHS Grad- I do however know where you are coming from, and as you've explained , you truly do know Mr. Bakr and you know how much a good person he is, which shows, you are a concerned parent and you as everyone else want the truth. The thing that everyone here needs to understand,is that bullying and intimidating does not bring change. Pope has a history of being a bully. Weymouth teachers have said that he left their school in a mess.I was there when he threatened people with suspensions, or messing with their college plans-It was bad. He needs to go, and the students/staff/and parents will continue to push for his removal.
Me April 23, 2012 at 06:54 PM
@MhsStudent - correction to your comment to c173a "From that it seems you continue to listen to rumors." it should read "From that it seems you continue to SPREAD rumors."
MhsStudent April 23, 2012 at 06:56 PM
@Me- I 100% agree! c17a3 's comments continue to show that he does not know anything.
MhsStudent April 23, 2012 at 07:32 PM
@Mhs grad- I'm not saying for you to go back to you're crappy job. Its just at first from your comment it seemed like you were not successful and you were blaming the MPS. Thank you for clearing that up. I'm also sure that its safer to raise a family in Southborough, Northborough etc but if there are issues in Marlboro why not deal with them? Pope came in with a lot of promise, but is bullying and intimidating others really the way to bring change about? Also, I'm sure the 90's were rough, I heard plenty of stuff today when I went to MHS. But it has gotten better, particularly when Mary Carlson came in. I can tell you this, as an 8th grader at the high school I did not feel safe. As a senior , things have changed immensely. Yes, I agree Marlborough needs to grow, and change,but Mr. Bakr brought that into MHS. Many past alumni wouldn't have graduated if he didn't push them. It's a shame that he was fired.
Mhs grad April 23, 2012 at 07:41 PM
Yes I have heard that Bakr did wonders. It seems like this Pope wanted a scapegoat though and Bakr was the one he choose. I do think that the system needs a radical change, but as I mentioned earlier it had for years and it was always just one bad move after another. I'm sure Pope will not last.
Suzanne April 23, 2012 at 08:11 PM
There are SO many successful MHS grads, some famous, some not. Professional sports players (football, soccer, baseball, hockey), actresses/dancers (I'd have to say Marcia Cross is far more successful that you and known throughout the world), business owners like yourself, doctors, lawyers, dentists, small business owners, a mayor and other politicians, etc. If you think Marlborough is inundated with drugs you're naive. They are everywhere. EVERYwhere. There are plenty of people in Southborough, Northborough, Westborough that use and even die from them. You have to make an individual decision to stay away from them. Kids today are fortunate to have many more resources and there is a lot more that's known about special needs kids whether it be a kid with a seen or unseen disability, a physical disability or a learning or behavioral disability. Marlborough has been the forefront for kids like you for a long, long time. You are right about one thing, Pope won't change anything. If anything, he makes it worse. Did you know Bakr applied for the Principal position and Pope wouldn't allow him an interview? Pope wanted Deb Roy and Bakr out, Bakr is a very strong president of the union. There were only 3 candidates for a principal job? Pope didn't accept more than that and eliminated one right away. Pope hires his wife's friend. I've worked on many faculty searches at Regis. There's no way only 3 applied, not in this economy. Pope is aligning his buddies.
Suzanne April 23, 2012 at 08:13 PM
I forgot to mention there are NASA employees, aerospace engineers, and many other engineers making a difference in the world who graduated from MHS and are doing it without a chip on their shoulder.
Suzanne April 23, 2012 at 08:16 PM
The person WAS fired, as soon as info was found to be true. Fired immediately by Mr. Bakr. This happens all too frequent, you read about that girl, newly 18, who quit school and took up with her teacher, 40ish who left his wife and kids and quit his job? Now he's in jail. Turns out he's done it before and with minors.
Suzanne April 23, 2012 at 08:17 PM
Mr. Bakr is graduating his first set of students who started at MHS the same time as he did THIS year. You must be confusing him with someone else. He wasn't there a long time ago except as a student who graduated in the early 90's.
Suzanne April 23, 2012 at 08:19 PM
I agree! Bakr is a far better administrator and person than Clancy who liked to play favorites and was a suck-up to the more popular kids. I didn't like him at all.
Suzanne April 23, 2012 at 08:28 PM
I hope so, too. His usual length of time at a job is 2 years and he's close to that 2 year anniversary. Bakr is an extraordinary administrator. Deb Roy is an excellent principal. Mary Carlson was a better principal than superintendent. The School Committee made a bad choice with Pope.
c17a3 April 23, 2012 at 09:30 PM
@ Me, mhs...aka clueless. everybody in Marlborough knows why Mr Bakr was fire it has been commented on in the Metrowest daily news and the home journal. His own lawyer commented on it in the Journal so why don't you go learn to read.
c17a3 April 23, 2012 at 09:53 PM
@me & mhs What i do know Mr Bakr was fired and he was fired by Superintendent Pope his boss and it wasn't for carrying around a pb&j samich in his pocket. And you made some comments above that suggest you know why Mr Bakr got fired too. Even commented on the age of the girl. Why should that matter anyway she is a student.
c17a3 April 23, 2012 at 09:59 PM
@mhsstudent, I do know something...Mr Bakr has been fired.
Me April 23, 2012 at 10:11 PM
@C17a3 - Yes, Bakr was fired by his boss - you FINALLY got a fact correct. From the RUMORS I have heard do I think it just justified? No, I don't. Do I have all the facts? No, if I did I might feel differently Do I think Mr. Bakr has been treated fairly? No I don't. Do I think he was an asset to MHS & should be reinstated? Yes Do I think Pope is trouble & going to distroy MHS? Yes, he needs to go Yes, I made comments about RUMORS, I did not claim to "know why Mr. Bakr got fired" and to be perfectly clear I wrote "EVERTHING I HAVE STATED IS RUMOR, there may be some slight truth to it or none at all." Your still an idiot who obviously has reading comprehension issues that you should probably address.
c17a3 April 24, 2012 at 02:00 AM
@me I don't care what you think, personally I think your a moron. And it's less rumor and more fact especially when Bakr's lawyer is commenting on it in the Home Journal as stated before. I will give Superintendent Pope the benefit of doubt instead of the person he fired. You also stated your parents would not allow you to go to MHS (I wonder why)and your daugter was there for five years probably because the eighth grade was up there until Dr Pope changed that and put it back down in the middle school where it belongs. It's the same old same old in Marboro...spelled the city the way you probably learned growing up here. When an outsider comes here to make positive changes to the school system runs smack into the entrenched status quo, I just hope the school commitee has the backbone this time to fend off the vocal minority in this city...you and mhsstudent (probably a MHS teacher) included.
MhsStudent April 24, 2012 at 02:11 AM
c17a3- Bakr's lawyer made no such statement! He simply said Bakr did nothing wrong, which he didn't! You're so ignorant it's ridiculous. Also if you haven't paid attention, every outsider have only proven to bring problems into the town. One example, is the admiral, and the Superintendent before her. Pope is no different. Go find something to do, and stop spreading rumors in the internet. Like I have said before, go attend a SC meeting and learn the truth, and the facts. Don't rely on opinions. By the way, I 'am a student , interesting for you to make those assumptions when you sound SC member. You clearly don't know what you are talking about.
c17a3 April 24, 2012 at 02:53 AM
@mhsstudent or mhsteacher of course Mr Bakr's lawyer said he did nothing wrong you cement head, he also made a comment about other staffers up at the HS knowing about the inapproriate relationship...so it's not rumor anymore if Bakr's lawyer is commenting about it in the paper...can you comprehend that. What the hell do you think he was fired for...for making faces at the Superintendent? Like I stated before your part of the entrenched status quo and you need to go, hopefully to another school district. Marlborough is a great city to raise a family but it gets a bad rap because of the school system. Until recently the school configuration. No one wanted the eighth grade up at the HS and the elementry school configuration was all screwed up but thanks to Dr Pope and this school commitee it got corrected. And to mhsteacher you wouldn't know the truth if it bit you in the ass...you probably don't even live in Marlborough.
Me April 24, 2012 at 01:01 PM
@c17a3 - Are you Pope's wife or Pope himself? How about if you post here th link to the Home Journal where we can read what Bakr's lawyer has said.
Me April 24, 2012 at 01:14 PM
c17a3 - Here's what it says in the Journal: While there has been no official comment regarding the specific reason for Bakr’s termination, the Journal has learned that the discipline relates, at least in part, to his administrative handling of a personnel matter. Specifically, sources have indicated that Pope is alleging Bakr did not respond properly when he learned of an improper relationship involving a high school staffer. The staffer was subsequently fired. Confoey would not confirm those details but he did restate that Bakr did nothing wrong. Sources have also told the Journal that there were at least two other supervisor-level school employees who knew of the improper relationship and did not face any disciplinary action. Details of who knew what and how each supervisor handled their duties remain unclear. It is expected, however, that these details could be examined when the labor grievance is being heard to show that Bakr may have been singled out by Pope because of his status as a union head. Your reading comp issues flared up again I see. The article says: 1. there has been no official comment regarding the specific reason for Bakr’s termination 2. Confoey would not confirm those details but he did restate that Bakr did nothing wrong. 3. there were at least two other supervisor-level school employees who knew of the improper relationship and did not face any disciplinary action. 4. none of this is OFFICIAL the Journal, sources = rumor to me
Paul Gentile April 24, 2012 at 02:21 PM
Everyone here is looking for or hoping for the same thing. Aren't we? Namely, that the Marlborough school system benefits in the long run. I'm sure Bakr supporters would want him out if it turns out he was NOT "targeted" for his union association and he WAS neglect in his handling of the situation. I'm sure Pope supporters would want him out if it turns out he's guilty of targeting a valuable asset like Bakr when it COULD'VE BEEN AVOIDED and his reaction to the demonstration was justifiable or at least understandable and NOT an indication of incompetency or inability to handle a crisis. As for the School Committee, I really doubt they're not able to discern if their choice in Pope was not the best choice and I really doubt they'll let the school system suffer in any imaginable way just to protect "their positions". From all of these comments on character and integrity, what this basically amounts to is that Bakr supporters are accusing Pope of having no interest in the school system's better welfare and they're accusing the school committee of the same. I find that incredulous.
c17a3 April 24, 2012 at 05:08 PM
@me...Confoey says, sources say...you really are a child.
MHS Parent April 24, 2012 at 06:31 PM
MAMom - Please get your facts straight - the schools were NEVER unaccredited - our students have won awards on both state and national levels and each year are accepted at top colleges and universities. The characterization of Marlborough schools as being "horrible" is patently untrue. As you stated in your post, you are an outsider - please get the fact before hurling insults. As far as the situation with Dr. Pope is concerned, his poor communications skills, lack of respect for students, faculty and staff and overall demeanor have created an atmosphere so poisonous that he must be removed.
MhsStudent April 24, 2012 at 07:32 PM
C17a3- You make no sense. You're comments are juvenile, and immature. From an adult, I'd expect something better. Stop spreading rumors, and go find something to do with your life. You don't know anything, so keep your mouth shut.
c17a3 April 24, 2012 at 09:58 PM
@stupid...make me!
c17a3 April 24, 2012 at 10:08 PM
@me...funny i was thinking the same about you maybe Bakr's mom or dad. I'm pretty sure mhsstudent is a teacher up at the HS, probably an art teacher.


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