In his first public comments about an incident that has sparked , Superintendent Anthony Pope apologized Tuesday night for “many misunderstandings” and said he took full responsibility for his actions.
“As a leader of this district, I own all that happened," Pope said. “I am sincerely sorry for the many misunderstandings on that day and the negative impact is has brought to our student body.”
“I feel badly that my actions were interpreted in a way that I did not intend," he said."As the educational leader of this city, I always take full responsibility for what happens in the district. “
Pope's actions on Jan. 27, 2012 at have created a swirl of controversy. Students said Pope behaved unprofessionally, attempting to scare them into dropping their protests of his suspension of popular assistant principal Adam Baker. And Guidance counselor Joanne Hanson claimed she was pushed by Pope, claims that a .
After Pope spoke Tuesday night, several teachers, former students and others called directly on the School Committee to fire Pope, or for Pope to resign. Among those who spoke was Hanson, who said she was still waiting for a personal apology from Pope.
"He didn't apologize for his actions, he apologized for misunderstandings," she said. "But it wasn't a misunderstanding when I was shoved from behind and told to get back to class."
Others were quick to support Hanson and Bakr and to call on the committee to take action.
Recent MHS graduate Cairo Mendes said the school he recently left is in such turmoil that he worreies about the education younger siblings and friends will get. "The problem is not the students, it's not the teachers--it's the superintendent," he said.
Former MHS Assistant Principal Paul Kamataris said the district risks losing good teachers and students if a change isn't made. "We cannot recover from this," he said. "It's time to make a move."
Earlier in the meeting, Pope told the committee that an extended deadline for filing an accreditation report had been met.
However, some board members blasted the last-minute nature of the process, and said that it was only because of a furious 48 hours of work by some staff members that the paperwork was able to be filed.
"There was a breakdown of leadership," said Katherine Hennessey, adding that she was "dumbfounded" by how the process was handled.