School Committee: High School Incident with Pope "Unfortunate," Training Planned

The School Committee said staff members will be offered professional development opportunities in conflict resolution.

The Marlborough School Committee Tuesday issued a statement calling events that took place at Marlborough High School in January "unfortunate" and said that faculty and staff will be offered professional development training in conflict resolution.

School Committee secretary read a brief statement that she said was approved during a lengthy executive session of the board held on Monday afternoon, during which an incident at Marlborough High School on Jan. 27, 2012 was discussed.

In that incident, a staffer accused Superintendent Anthony Pope of pushing her out of the way, while a group of students appeared before the school committee to say that Pope had acted in an unprofessional way. 

The statement said that the events had become a distraction for students and faculty. 

"The School Committee is in the process of evaluating the superintendent's job perfomance, with an emphasis on communication and trust issues so we can all move the district forward," Dwyer said. 

Suzanne May 23, 2012 at 12:06 PM
At his age, in his position if Conflict Resolution is needed that says something is REALLY wrong! Faculty and staff don't need this, there wasn't a problem with them. The problem IS Pope. The SAME thing happened in Weymouth. A vote of no confidence means nothing? What a way to tap dance around this idiot and for him. They should be ashamed of themselves.
Christine May 23, 2012 at 12:25 PM
Are you kidding me, it seems that you are shifting the blame onto the staff, when obviously Pope needs "training in conflict resolutions", so glad my children aren't affected by this.
Two little munchkins May 23, 2012 at 12:29 PM
Honestly, with a young family in the system and the promising future MPS had shown, I am appalled by the way both sides handled this and the public way the community has reacted. BTW, you are never too old for conflict resolution - some of the commentators on this issue could have used it too.
JM May 23, 2012 at 12:51 PM
Um, going out on a limb here but Pope doesn't have the right to put his hands on ANYONE. He acted unprofessionally. I would venture to say he need anger management counseling more than anything else.
S J Gebhart May 23, 2012 at 01:58 PM
It is very sad state of affairs to let this matter fester for 5 months when it could have been handled in a much more professional manner by all involved. I applaud the students for their active voice in bringing the Superintendent's actions to the fore front. It is appalling to hear this School Committee statement made as a finale to this meeting on Tues. Dr. Pope again displayed an attitude that he is the one and only person that needs to make decisions, failing to act cooperatively with his administrators in seeing no need to have them present to discuss issues with the School Committe. I hope the School Committee gives Dr. Pope a true evaluation that merits a reflection of the chaos that has been very evident through the budget process, with his staff, and the public. It is truly a sad day to know that Marlboro's improving reputation and educational foundation has been tarnished once again.
Neil Licht May 23, 2012 at 02:56 PM
No cop outs please. The no confidence vote can not be swept away by conflict resolution training. In the private sector, thats the stuff a firing of a CEO is made of. Toughness as a leader is not the issue. Toughness is needed to make change. Respect and confidence is the issue. How come that was not dealt with? Is there a history of this alienation of the staff in the Superintendent's background? Maybe we should look at that. If so- then its a pattern. If not, then its a management issues that must be addressed directly by his boss - the school committee and us taxpayers. THats not conflict resolution training, thats a decision to lay down the rules and then enforce them, The "touching" issue is minor compared to the reasons for the vote of no confidence. THats what needs to be addressed so face the real issue. When teachers are afraid of what wil happen to them if they disagree with or want to discuss poilcy with the superintendent, if they are afraid of reprisals, then the "boss" can no longer be entrusted to "lead" us into change. Not much more to sat then is there. No confidence said so loudly and with such clarity is an impass that can not be fixed with conflict resolution. Its a perception of one's value and behavior and that perception stays in one's mind. You can not lead if your "followers" do not believe in you and apparently, our teachers do not believe in Dr. Pope. Neil Licht
Peg May 23, 2012 at 02:58 PM
Vote every member of the School Committee out next election or start a recall now. The only way the voices of the people are to be heard now is by the check mark next to someone else's name. The staff had nothing to do with this. This all lays on the shoulders of Pope. HE'S the one who should be taking anger management courses. His ego needs to be brought down a few notches as well. I was born and raised in Marlboro and never have I seen such arrogance by a superintendent and such lack of leadership by a school committee. This is just appalling.
Neil Licht May 23, 2012 at 04:33 PM
Peg- so act on your idea-start a recall campaign via patch, web, newspaper interviews of you.
Suzanne May 23, 2012 at 07:52 PM
How do you go about starting a recall? Clearly Pope is the one in need of this, not the faculty, nor the staff, nor the students! That no confidence vote, though, is the real telling of this situation. How can the SC and Mayor ignore this?
Suzanne May 23, 2012 at 07:57 PM
If the public hadn't reacted all of this would have been swept under the rug instead of bringing attention to some serious problems involving the superintendent. The students have conducted themselves professionally, maturely, honestly and with integrity. They spoke the truth. I commend them. You'd also think that before someone is entrusted with the position of superintendent that they had gone through conflict resolution as part of their training as it is a big part of their responsibilities. No hothead should be in charge of a school district. I was there, I saw Pope laugh and smirk as the students spoke, I saw him texting under the table and I also heard him tell a reporter that he never said or did the things he's accused of which many witnesses have verified separately. He's never owned his words or actions nor apologized. At this time, an apology is way too late. You can't call people liars, especially when it's you that's lying and months later say you're sorry for doing what you said you never did. A very sad situation indeed.
Pam Jones May 24, 2012 at 03:00 AM
Pam Jones May 24, 2012 at 03:02 AM
With all due respect to some members of school committee, I feel compelled to express my grave disappointment in your statement referencing the events of January 27 at Marlborough High School. The disregard and disrespect it showed toward students and staff is unconscionable. The manner in which this 'unfortunate distraction' was handled by you is embarassing. Students first brought you their concerns two weeks after the January 27 incident; yet your investigation into the incident took place just 2 months ago. After hours and days of meetings and investigations and corroborating evidence, we deserve better than 'unfortunate'! Shame on you for conspiring to cover up such wrong doings. Your proposed School Committee norms reference best practices of 'brevity in your work' and 'avoiding process paralysis'. REALLY?? Is it no wonder that students have requested that their superintendent not attend their graduation? It would not come as a surprise that they make the same request of all of you. It is not too late to do right by our students! Bring Bakr Back...send Pope a message, and avoid an embarassing, protracted and potentially expensive lawsuit. Lastly, the fact that you admit to assisting Pope in writing his statement/apology--unbelievable!! You cant even trust him to summon the humility to issue that statement without controversy! Read more: http://www.metrowestdailynews.com/news/x1898612721/School-board-issues-statement-on-Jan-27-incident#ixzz1vkhDNUbl
sally mack May 25, 2012 at 12:47 AM
Racism at it's best. It never cease to amaze me how people have different standards for people of color. What progress was made by the previous Superintendent? Are Marlborough School better, the same or worst since Pope started, don't base conclusion on how the students or staff or your own limited knowledge, look at the data.i.e. test scores, number of students that are graduating and going to college. I suggest you also look at how Marlborough school rank in comparison to other schools in the state. Are your kids making the grades. Parents, you need to teach your children to respect authority and positions as when they go to college and in the real world they are destined for failure and unemployment. Think about it, would you still have a job if you treated your CEO in this manner, i would think not.
Suzanne May 25, 2012 at 01:06 AM
Pope brought it all on himself. Period. Read the article in the paper today with the Mayor stating his opinion on the matter. This has nothing whatsoever to do with the race of any one individual. Weymouth and now Marlborough, exactly the same. The reason? The unprofessional, intimidating, tyrannical way he "rules". He is a boss, he is not a leader. Marlborough is far worse since he came and it's because of him. The morale, lack of training for a program he implemented because there was no money, yet he took 3 outside colleagues to a meeting on the dime of citizens of Marlborough. People were helpful when he arrived but it didn't take long for him to reveal his true colors. As for children respecting authority blatantly, we need to teach our children to speak up when they are violated, when their rights are violated, when an injustice has been done. Good thing the MHS students did just that.
sally mack May 25, 2012 at 02:06 AM
I beg to differ, race is an issue here. I wouldn't expect you or anyone to admit it as that would mean one would have to admit they they are a racist. I am so tired of folks not admitting they their motives are racially bias. Children should speak up when it's appropriate at the appropriate it time. If Marlborough Schools are truly worst off, it appear to me that the fight should be about a better quality of education, better schools more funding teachers, not how they are spoke to, shame on to parents for not fighting or the big picture, their children quality education. All too often people complaint about the small things instead of fighting for things that will make their children competitive in society. But wait, Marlboro will get rid of Pope and then you will say well he created all these problems that you are trying to correct. But we know this is not the case, you still will not be at the school committee meeting fighting for a better quality of education nor will you push to raise the bar for the quality of teachers or curriculum, you will still be in the same sad state of denial.
sally mack May 25, 2012 at 02:15 AM
Pope is not perfect, but nor are the parents. We as parents must advocate for better education and teach our children how to advocate for the things that are important and will help them to be able to contribute to our society. Again, college and the work place will not tolerate this behavior from our children so we must teach them now how to appropriately speak and interact with authority or they will learn the hard way.
mike May 25, 2012 at 05:02 PM
This is a total shame for the staff and students. I worked ay WHS and Mr. Pope(dont beleave he is a real Dr.) was the principal. He got rid of anyone that did not agree with him(including me) and everything went thru his hands (including student money accounts) which he helped himself out to. He is no educator but a dictator. Shame on MSC for even allowing him to enter the school district, they should have done there home work.
MhsStudent May 26, 2012 at 09:37 PM
Lol your pathetic Dr. Pope. Making a fake account just to turn this into a race issue.
MhsStudent May 26, 2012 at 09:38 PM
Thank you Mike!!! We wish you could have come down and told all of that to the SC. Pope has a history and he should have been gone. Would you be able to write something to the SC?
Suzanne May 27, 2012 at 01:16 AM
Considering African Americans are a part of my family I am not a racist. Do NOT project your thoughts onto me or anyone else. Your grammar is pathetic, "they their", "at the appropriate it", "truly worst off" (worse), "it appear" (appears), "better schools more funding teachers", "they are spoke to" (spoken), etc. By the way I DO attend School Committee meetings and have been involved in the community for decades. The old "children should be seen and not heard", "children should speak when spoken to" has thankfully been gone a long time ago. This was most definitely the time for the students to speak out, imagine if they didn't? Now we have people from Weymouth commenting. They must be so relieved he is gone. Someday, hopefully Marlborough will be feeling the same way.
Jay Michaels May 28, 2012 at 02:11 AM
This is a a serious story and the reporting of it here is very lacking. "In that incident, a staffer accused Superintendent Anthony Pope of pushing her out of the way, while a group of students appeared before the school committee to say that Pope had acted in an unprofessional way." That falls so far short of describing what actually happened, a reader with no other information might wonder, what's the big deal. But if you begin to insert more complete facts as provided by witness testimony, you see a very different event ... a deliberate, pre-meditated act by Pope to interrupt the school day and create a conflict with students for the express purpose of intimidating them to silence their support of Adam Bakr, with Pope eventually chasing a student in a fit of rage and pushing a teacher in the process.
Jay Michaels May 28, 2012 at 02:21 AM
I left out commentary on this Patch description of the high school incident from another story ... "... students voiced complaints to the School Committee about the way Pope acted during a sit-in at MHS." There was no sit in or protest going on when they were confronted by Pope. They were merely in between classes and would have been moving along had Pope not initiated the conflict. He engaged them for the purpose of scaring them. Why has that not been reported here? Unless you have a clear picture of what the superintendent did, you cannot grasp the outrage of those who witnessed it.
Me May 29, 2012 at 11:53 AM
The minute any student puts their hands on another sudent in school, the police are called, an investigation is done and sometimes charges are filed. My daughter got suspended for defending herself against a bully in school. She was told she should have walked away (while the othr student was trying to hit her, I totally disagreed) anyway why dont the same rules apply to Pope/Staff????
Me May 29, 2012 at 12:01 PM
I knew somone would throw the race card in here. Bravo sally mack -- race has NOTHING to do with Pope's behavior. College & the work place will tolerate our children speaking up for their rights, they will not tolerate someone placeing hands on someone else.
Two little munchkins June 01, 2012 at 12:14 PM
Both sides have accountability and conflict resolution issues here. Unfortunately, the public scrutiny is doing more harm to the system as a whole then good. The stand at the school committee mtg. was a great way to voice concerns...but holding signs while middle school students came for orientation at the high school was disturbing and a quick way to lose respect for that side of the cause. I hope changes are in store for how to address future problems on both sides.
Two little munchkins June 01, 2012 at 12:22 PM
Pope's behavior was disturbing at best but students blocking the way and not letting people walk through the halls was certainly not something I want my children to learn. They will learn to make noise without causing more issues for the greater good. I don't think there was racism here but I do think some of the commentary reflect that many in the system are not being realistic about the reputation of MPS (outside of these incidents) and why families with young children are not sending their kids into the public schools. Visits to elementary schools alone cannot make decisions, they are going on word of mouth and statistics and unfortunately, those are not flattering. Hopefully, this get turned around soon.
Suzanne June 01, 2012 at 09:01 PM
There were 10 min. between classes, tests had just finished. The seniors were where the seniors usually are between classes. No one was out of line, verbally or physically until Pope began his rampage, physically, verbally and emotionally. Pope is the single reason for all the turmoil that's gone on.
Suzanne June 01, 2012 at 09:11 PM
NO ONE was holding signs at the high school for when the middle school kids came. I'm sure the high school kids didn't even know that they were coming. There were signs at the school advertising the meeting Wed. which was changed to Thurs., and this change was on the sign. They were not all over the place, there were "some". Period. I was there Wed. evening and I sub at MHS. Get your story straight. No one was blocking halls and not letting people through, also. I was there.


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