Danvers School Board Takes No Action Against Superintendent | News


DANVERS – The Danvers school committee has taken no action regarding Superintendent Lisa Dana’s future after meeting for 90 minutes in executive session Monday night.

Chairman Eric Crane said no committee member offered to put Dana on leave and no votes were taken.

“There is no change in his personal status,” Crane told reporters after the meeting, which was closed to the public.

The school committee held the executive session after a heated meeting last week in which several members of the public called on Dana and the school committee members to resign over their handling of allegations of racist, sexual and homophobic misconduct during boys from Danvers High School 2019-2020. hockey season.

Committee member Robin Doherty opened last week’s meeting with a motion to put Dana on administrative leave. Crane said the motion was not presented properly, so he ruled it out of order. But he said any member of the committee could have made a similar motion on Monday night and no one did.

Reached by email after the meeting, Doherty released a statement saying, “I remain of the view that transparency and accountability are essential to promote an inclusive environment for all members of the school community.” She didn’t immediately respond to a question as to why she hadn’t made another motion to put Dana on leave.

The executive session was held in a small room at Danvers High School. No member of the public was present. After the meeting, Crane spoke briefly to reporters who waited in the hallway while the meeting was held in private.

When asked to characterize the discussion among committee members during the executive session, Crane said, “Overall, positive.”

When asked if everyone on the committee was on the same page, he said, “Yes, I think we are. “

“We are all determined to do our part to help the community heal from events that have happened or would have happened,” Crane said, reading the notes.

Crane said the school committee would issue a longer statement “in the next few days.”

Monday night’s meeting came as the city continues to address allegations made by a former Danvers High Boys varsity hockey player. The player told authorities and reporters that his teammates engaged in racist and sexual misconduct during the 2019-20 season.

The allegations led Attorney General Maura Healey’s office to request more information from schools and police in Danvers, and sparked calls for accountability and transparency from the public as well as the Danvers Teachers Association .

Danvers School and Police officials investigated the charges earlier this year, but refused to release unredacted copies of the reports, saying privacy laws prevent disclosure complete.

Police and the district attorney’s office said they could not lay charges because the anonymous hockey player refused to file a criminal complaint.

Hockey coach Danvers Police Sgt. Stephen Baldassare, resigned from the team in July.

In previous interviews with The Salem News, the former player said he was told to undress on “Gay Tuesdays”, when older players turned off dressing room lights and inappropriately touched younger players. The players who resisted were forced to do so with force, he said.

He also said he was beaten with a sex toy for refusing to racially shout the “Hard-R Fridays”, named after the last ‘r in the n word. The players lined up in front of their hockey bags and shouted racial slurs, one by one, he said. He said there was a “team dildo,” named the pink dragon, to be used on those who refused to join the ritual.

The former player has said he believes the Hard-R Fridays were born out of a toxic culture where racist players wanted their teammates to be like them. He spoke confidentially to The Salem News because he said he wanted to alert the community. He didn’t want his name used, fearing retaliation from his teammates and Danvers hockey fans. He also spoke to investigators from the school and the police.

The ex-player said he felt his accounts of bad behavior were not taken seriously by authorities. He did not file a criminal complaint to protect himself.

Editor-in-Chief Paul Leighton can be reached at 978-338-2535, by email at pleighton@salemnews.com, or on Twitter at @heardinbeverly.

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