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LETTER TO THE EDITOR: Supplying Proof That I'm Telling the Truth

Former Noyes Elementary School teacher Janice Donahue releases documentation backing her side of her dismissal, countering statements from Superintendent Anne Wilson and Sudbury Education Association President Robert Mealey.

There are two events that have prompted me to write this letter to the editor: 

  1. Anne Wilson’s statement Aug. 27 stating “There are a number of misstatements and half-truths in the story.”
  2. Bob Mealey’s letter to my former colleagues appearing Aug 31 stating: “It was apparent to the SEA and the MTA lawyer that the town was steadfast in its decision to remove this teacher from our ranks right from the start.”

I am one person against the large, well-funded machine of those in control of SPS. They have taken my career, my dignity, my reputation and hurt me financially. I refuse to sit by and continue to take their abuse. 

I believe the facts speak for themselves. In the attached documents you will see the following timeline documented: 

  • May 4: an incident occurred in Mr. Gorgone’s classroom
  • May 7: Mr. Gorgone reported it to Annette Doyle
  • May 7-9: Annette Doyle and Kristin Moffat interviewed six students from my classroom without parental notification, even with parents in building
  • May 8: Annette, Kristin , Bob Mealey and I met May 8 where I reported the fight to my supervisor Annette Doyle and Annette put me on administrative leave while she conducted an investigation
  • May 9: Dr. Wilson emailed and mailed me a letter of Intent to Dismiss 
  • May 13: Email correspondence with Bob Mealey, my Union Representative
  • May 16: Email directive for lesson plans from Annette Doyle and my fulfillment of demand as seen by Bob Mealey’s response. 
  • May 22: Dr. Wilson filed 51A Report with DCF
  • May 25: DCF screened out report and mailed Dr. Wilson the Mandated Reporter Notification Letter
  • June 5: Meeting was held by Dr. Wilson and Annette Doyle with parents of Room 15 with Bob Mealey in attendance as my union representative.  During that meeting when asked about lesson plans, Annette said she requested them from me but never received them. This is clearly contradicted by Dr. Mealey’s email to me May 17.
  • June 20: Anne Wilson’s statement at SPSC meeting that “no teacher has been or will be disciplined for breaking up a fight. And to clarify, again, there was no fight between students and no report of a fight between students was made to the administration. (Please see my report to Annette Doyle, principal, during “Investigation of Allegations” May 8)
  • July 9: Resignation submitted. 

I cannot speak of the investigation that Annette and Dr. Wilson conducted.  I can only say that Annette met with me as documented May 8, and at no time after did anyone from the SPS or any person contact me regarding the events of May 4. 

According to her own letter to me May 9, Dr. Wilson stated it was my right to meet with her to review her decision. We would have met May 14, but my MTA lawyer was not appointed until after the letter was sent and he was unavailable that date so it was rescheduled for May 23. 

As I stated previously, Dr. Wilson never attended that meeting nor any other with me to review her decision, only the counsel hired on behalf of Dr. Wilson.   

I was terribly saddened to read the statement made by Bob Mealey on the Patch Friday. It is my hope that if any allegation or investigation were to be made in the future regarding any of my former colleagues, that they will be granted greater support.  

Sincerely

Janice L. Donahue


joanne September 04, 2012 at 10:47 AM
Thank you Mrs J for releasing these documents- they prove what we have thought all along. You were pushed out by a principle whose ego is out of control! You had a union rep who was useless, ( he had his own agenda, thats obvious). A music teacher who has NO CONTROL over his classroom, and quite frankly doesnt teach- unless you consider freeze dance and free time teaching. Then we have Ann Swifty Wilson- the worst bully of them all. She should have sat down with all parties involved and conducted her own investigation, and not relied on Annette Doyles. Its been obvious for some time that Annette had it out for Mrs J. But then again she was busy redecorating- As taxpayers and parents we deserve some answers from those who created this mess, and destroyed an incredible womans teaching career. I think everyone who like me is disgusted by this outrageous situation attend the next SPSC mtg. To Mrs J- your supporters have believed you from the start! We love you and will continue to support you.
Christine Hogan September 04, 2012 at 12:11 PM
I encourage all who believe Dr. Wilson is not responsibly leading our school system to sign the petition here: http://www.change.org/petitions/taxpayers-of-sudbury-vote-of-no-confidence-in-dr-anne-wilson According to Dr. Wilson's statement the evening this petition was presented to the SPSC, "No teacher has been or will be disciplined for breaking up a fight. And to clarify, again, there was no fight between students and no report of a fight between students was made to the administration." According to Mrs. J's interview with Doyle, Moffat and Mealey, this is not the case as she describes the incident as 1. "fighting with each other" 2. "fighting over the seat" I do not understand how Wilson can say that a fight was never reported when Mrs. Donahue reported it to Mrs. Doyle that morning. Dr. Wilson's statement June 20th at the SPSC meeting and then sent out in an email blast twice afterwards does not support the evidence. This is another example of her inability to effectively and responsibly lead our schools.
joanne September 04, 2012 at 12:19 PM
The next School Comm meeting is 9/5/12 @ 7:30 at the Senior Center, 40 Fairbank Rd.
Two little munchkins September 04, 2012 at 02:00 PM
Mrs. J - My own child has several friends that were in your class last year and I know that you were and still are a very well-respected and much loved teacher. However, there is a difference between breaking up a fight by standing in between them and re-directing them and physically grabbing them. Reviewing the documents you have submitted and the students statements, I don't think I would have condoned you grabbing my child or any child's arm in this situation or really any situation outside of a much, much more serious altercation. We are talking about first graders here not middle or high school students. That being said, again judging by the info presented here alone, it certainly doesn't seem like it was handled well after the fact or that the given judgement was appropriate. I hope you can still receive a fair and well-discussed resolution to this incident. Thank you for your years of dedication and service to the community.
bobby September 04, 2012 at 02:12 PM
With all due respect Mrs. J, the documents do a lousy job supporting your case. also, Mr. Fucci, please black out the child's name from the DCF letter to Wilson.
Jeff Pazak September 04, 2012 at 03:30 PM
I read through the PDFs. There is no basis for a dismissal of a teacher for this. Grabbing a student by the arm does not serve as any basis for teacher dismissal. A warning may or may not be appropriate if the child suffered a bruise. I am very disappointed in the school committee and outraged by Dr. Wilson. The school committee failed to oversee the situation and ensure fairness to all involved. The committee failed its responsibility by abdicating to Dr. Wilson's perspective. The committee should be held accountable.
Enuff September 04, 2012 at 03:51 PM
Nobody to blame but ourselves. We elected Gutch and company. The school committee is very quiet lately. That will all change come election time when they will threaten us with propaganda. SPS school committee stop trying to convince yourselves you made a great hire. You did not and it is very apparent.
SkimThreePercent September 04, 2012 at 04:13 PM
Many thought SPS would be better off moving forward after Beeler, Mac Donald and Iuliano left. But Gutch tops them all. I've often wondered whether Bracket might have stayed had Gutch not been elected. One of the most annoying persons I've seen. Swifty Wilson could not have pulled this off without a good deal of help from Doyle and Mealey. Yes, there are sufficient facts to justify a warning. But Doyle used this opportunity to settle an earlier score knowing that Swifty Wilson was an inexperienced rookie still in probationary status herself. Mealey washed his hands of it all like Pilot. Remember, Swifty had alreadty been in trouble with the food service and Curtis scoreboard fiascos. She needed to win one and Beeler helped her on his way out the door. No common sense and a terrible clueless committee all contributes to the disfunction. Very similar to the Red Sox situation. Total disfunction.
sudbury_patriot September 04, 2012 at 07:41 PM
ttttt
sudbury_patriot September 04, 2012 at 08:08 PM
I have read enough of this vitriol.....and have to respond. Our town has been blessed with the dedication of many people on many committees which include the school committee, selectman and others. In talking to some of these people over the years it is amazing to me the quality of people we are able to attract, not only do they seen to be well educated (unlike many of the bloggers I have read) but also seem to be high integrity people. It would seem better of people who engage in commenting to focus more on offering "real" solutions, as opposed to creating problems in order win elections, something that seems a clear objective of many of the folks commenting. Having been in Sudbury for a number of years I was always told that we have some of the best schools in the state, and our town has always been rated highly among our peers regarding overall management and financial integrity. We have enough issues on a national level to deal with and it is disheartening to see the kind of attacks some of you seem to be unable to shut-off even when the evidence shows itself for what it is... This last attack on the principal, School committee, superintendent and others looks more like a witch-hunt and is truly unfortunate. After reading what looks like a number of confidential documents and e-mails related to this difficult situation it is my hope that calm heads will prevail and that the town can get back delivering the superior service it has provided up until this issue arose.
bobby September 04, 2012 at 10:02 PM
Enough with the baseball/red sox references yokles! j donohue's supporters are in the cape cod league then! Intellectual and legal power houses!
JJoseph September 04, 2012 at 10:32 PM
Hey Sudbury Patriot, You sound like another Sudbury insider (Lavender gang) that get extremely angry when us taxpayers question the crazy behavior of those that are supposed to be running the Town. Wake up. There are too many incidents (Lavender, 40B, Kablack and Kablack, Mealy's kid gets into the system after the deadline, Mrs. J, etc....) By the way, vitriol is an overused term by Dr. Ritchie who has also been run out of town. If you are angry, show up at a school committee meeting. I haven't seen ONE person who favors the baloney going on in town.
Seeking Transparency September 04, 2012 at 10:35 PM
Regardless of your beliefs about what actually occurred during that music class there remains at least for me one overriding concern: The decision to dismiss a teacher with close to three decades serving Sudbury was essentially made within a period of 48 hours (between Monday May 7th and Wednesday May 9th) based on the following: 1. Statement made by music teacher 2. Interviews with 6 students none of which corroborated the account of the music teacher including the student who was on the ground who indicated he was pushed by another student 3. Interview with Mrs. Donahue where she also gave an account in line with the 6 students interviewed How can this be seen as due process?
I am not a yokel September 04, 2012 at 11:02 PM
Bobby- The word is yokel not "yokle". I will take your comment that I am an intellectual powerhouse with a grain of salt. yokel (ˈjəʊk ə l) — n derogatory (used chiefly by townspeople) a person who lives in the country, esp one who appears to be simple and old-fashioned
bobby September 04, 2012 at 11:26 PM
oops, sorry, yes, sorry with the yokel comment, inverted the "e" and "l" GOOD CATCH!!! anyone who moves back to his/her home town with a rudimentary understanding of employment law with same sorry law degree, but hearty enthusiasm to drive out the thinking newer residents is, in fact , a yokel. others, lesser, look up Joanne.
bobby September 04, 2012 at 11:37 PM
wonder if there are confidential historical files about her corporal punishment predispositions? hmmm. ?
joanne September 04, 2012 at 11:55 PM
If every teacher was fired for grabbing a child on the arm , there would be no more teachers in the schools
Seeking Transparency September 04, 2012 at 11:59 PM
@Bobby- If there are confidential historical files of the nature you are describing I can only assume you are one of the few dozen people who would have first hand access to that information. Unfortunately the rest of us are left to form opinions based on the factual information presented. I am in awe of the time commitment needed to serve on any of the major committees in town but that does not excuse the need for accountability to the townspeople.
Christine Hogan September 05, 2012 at 01:00 AM
As a parent of two of the children in Mrs. J's classroom last year I was horrified to read the interview May 8th where Mrs. J said "I would think that if I am not in the room with those 6 year olds today, it is more of a concern." How prophetic a statement that turned out to be. Contrary to Wilson's statements that the children had not been affected by Mrs. J's abrupt, unexplained removal, many children, including both of mine showed symptoms such as insomnia and anxiety. I realize to outsiders this sounds crazy but my husband and I are parents of 5 children and these issues were surprising and real. If Mrs. Doyle had offered to escort Mrs. J down to the classroom the morning of May 8th to show the children she was alright and tell them she would need to be gone for a while but they should continue to work hard, I believe the children would have fared far better. This small but very important gesture would have gone a long way in my mind, and we would not have felt as abandoned by both Dr. Wilson and Mrs. Doyle as the 6 and 7-year old children would not have suffered as much. It appears the only one in that interview May 8th who had the children's welfare in mind was Mrs. J. While the superintendent and principal's statements throughout this process have said they put the children first, for this parent, I am saddened to say that the actions by both Dr. Wilson and Mrs. Doyle have spoken much louder and unfortunately, clearer than their words.
I am not a yokel September 05, 2012 at 01:42 AM
Bobby- I was merely pointing out the irony of your misspelling the keyword of your invective. I'm having a hard time comprehending your reply and also think you owe Joanne an apology. I am not Joanne and do not know her but your reply to my post including a personal attack on another poster is inappropriate.
Concerned Sudbury Parent September 05, 2012 at 10:49 AM
I feel compelled to comment on the email from Robert Mealey to Janice Donahue of May 13th. In his email, Mr. Mealey responds to Ms. Donahue's admittedly short request for notes, etc. Ms. Donahue can certainly be forgiven for her lack of pleasantries in an email to her union president considering she had just received notice of her possible dismissal, putting at risk her reputation and retirement benefits from a 30-year teaching career. Instead, Mr. Mealey scolds Ms. Donahue like an impudent child. "If you want me to work on your behalf I expect please and thank you. I am not someone's lacky (sic)." I am far from being a big teacher's union supporter, but if there ever was a case for a teacher to receive fair representation from her union, this was it. Instead, Mr. Mealey betrays his contempt for Ms. Donahue in this newly published email. I hope Sudbury teachers take note of Mr. Mealey's treatment of Ms. Donahue, in addition to his obvious incompetence in representing her. Sudbury teachers deserve better. It is becoming clear how isolated Ms. Donahue must have felt through this whole ordeal. I hope Sudbury parents continue to support her until her reputation and benefits are fully restored.
Christine September 05, 2012 at 12:40 PM
UNREAL
Rob F September 05, 2012 at 01:07 PM
To "Seeking Transparency": Well said! Will you be attending tonight's school committee meeting? If so, would you consider addressing the committee and asking them that same question?
Christine September 06, 2012 at 09:00 PM
"belies" his contempt
no name, i'd be fired September 10, 2012 at 09:01 PM
This may be the first logical, non-emotionally driven comment I have seen on this topic. Thank you.

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