Gone with no goodbye
My story today about the resignation of Marco Clark, the principal of Maritime Industries Academy, was reminiscent of another that I covered a few years ago, when the principal of Frederick Douglass High, Isabelle Grant, left suddenly under similar circumstances. The allegations against both principals involved grade falsification -- in one case, to let a student graduate; in the other, to let an academically ineligible student play football.
I remember a boy named Ignacio Evans, who spoke about Grant at a school board meeting in the spring of 2006. "She helped me out when my mother left me," he said then. "She extended her arm and was like, `Whatever you need, I'm there.' She pushed the papers so I could become a foster child, and now I am."
Like many students at Maritime now, Ignacio and his classmates wanted a chance to say goodbye to a person who might have been the most stable adult presence in their lives. The kids I interviewed yesterday talked about Clark as a father figure, just like the kids at Douglass viewed Grant like a mother.
And in both cases, the principals left without explanation, and students and families were left without any closure. In such cases, the school system is legally bound from commenting on what happened, since it's a personnel matter and anything said could lead to litigation.
What is the appropriate response in a situation like this?