To the editor:
My name is Patricia Gallagher. I am a mother of three children in the Lake Placid Central School District. I have been vocal in my disagreement with many of the choices that Dr. Richards has made for the district. I have met with him face to face on several occasions, and we have agreed to disagree.
Now I have read in the paper another choice Dr. Richards has made. Dr. Richards chose to use offensive language in reference to females within our district. This is no longer the rumor mill; this is not a "he said, she said" situation. This has been investigated, and Dr. Richards has admitted to using this language. It does not matter why this language was used. There is never any circumstance under which an educational leader would use such derogatory language in the workplace while referring to co-workers. This is inappropriate and unacceptable to me.
In an effort to improve the school environment, our district engaged in a program of Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports. It is an all-encompassing system of behavior management in which all parties involved are on board; this would include the superintendent. PBIS is designed to positively affect not only the student behavior but also student quality of life. Part of this is to reinforce values. The three core values of the Lake Placid Central School system are: "Be respectful, be responsible, be safe."
It is expected that our district would set an example for our children and "practice what we preach." It is clear that this has not been done by our current superintendent.
Thanks to the wonderful teachers in the Lake Placid school system, my children know how to read. With that said, please know our children know what is going on. They are watching to see what we do. Waiting for the district to take care of this is not the answer. After the board meeting Dec. 6, it is clear that the board is moving forward with Dr. Richards as the leader. I believe it is time for the community to step in. We need to set an example for our children. We must give respect to get respect. We cannot tolerate bullying.
Dr. Richards' choices are his own. I feel he cannot remain as the superintendent of our schools. He cannot be left in a position to make decisions for our students. He clearly does not represent my values, and I would hope he does not represent our community values. Words are our most important tools in learning, teaching, forging relationships and building trust and respect. How can we, as a community, accept what has been said and the inaction which has followed?