Response from the Concord School Board

To the Editor:

As members of the Concord School Board, we each, individually, were baffled and saddened by the article written by Taylor Reed titled "Drinking Policy Retooled" and published in The Caledonian-Record on January 18. The article did not resemble the meeting of the school board on January 2. What did occur was that parents of the suspended students requested from the board permission for the students to play after several games had been postponed or canceled. The team was well into the season, the suspended players had continued to practice and meet requirements, and the disruption to the team was dragging on much longer than anyone had anticipated. The policy, as written, was not clear, and the board discussed with the principal how to handle the request, which ultimately resulted in allowing the two students to begin playing and a plan to refine the wording in the policy. This was all done and over with more than two weeks before the article appeared in the newspaper.

The sentiment attributed to Mr. Lium in no way reflected the view of the board. It was a report of personal comments taken out of context and intended to suggest that there was an undercurrent of nonsupport of the administration. This board has had no conversation that would even remotely resemble such. We have consciously worked hard to support Mr. Ely in his endeavors to help build strength and excellence in this school. At the same time, we have attempted to remain transparent with the community so that citizens will understand how circumstances evolve. This is not always clean, but we believe it is in the best interest of all involved.

This unfortunate event is a reminder of the power of the written (and spoken) word. After spending unmeasurable time and hard work to build success, a misguided event like this can upset the entire proverbial apple cart and negatively impact the lives of many.

I would like to express on behalf of myself, Ms. Gordon, Ms. Call, and Ms. Young our sincere apology to Principal Ely. We appreciate the work he has done so far at Concord School. In our view, it has been a very good first semester. Mr. Ely's professionalism, care for the staff and students, and long work hours have been appreciated by those who spend much of their day interacting within the school community. The students at Concord are thriving. That has been and will remain our goal as long as we continue to serve this community.

Sincerely,

Karl Goulding

Chairman of the Concord School Board

Concord, Vt.

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