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Toxic or not? That is the question

March 5, 2012
Lake Placid News

There's a lot of talk on the street involving the Lake Placid Central School District - but a lot of it has been just that - talk. And most of it, rumor and conjecture. Yes, some concerned parents and taxpayers former employees - and a handful of current teachers - have spoken up at board of education meetings to voice their opinions on a range of topics, including the "State of the School District." That's fine, but if the local media is going to get a full sense of the alleged "hostile" environment in the school system, more people have to speak out for a report to be made public.

As the situation involving the school district unfolds, more and more people want to chime in and the plot appears to be thickening.

The News has heard unsubstantiated reports of a "toxic environment," "rampant disrespect" and a "hostile work place." Yet there have been no actual reports of bad behavior within the school - only the Randy Richards-Katherine Mulerig incident, which by the way happened mostly between the two.

The newspaper receives "tips" that the atmosphere in the school district is getting worse and moral is low. And the News tried to act upon these "tips."

When recently contacted for comment for an article to discuss any problems in the school district, local teacher union representative Tom Dodd said "he will think about it." Others will not speak on the record - some with perhaps a justified fear of retribution from the school administration.

Well, the local newspapers are aware of the cries being made, and has been trying to publicize the issue. But it can't be a speculative piece - that is not journalism. Teachers, students and staff have to go on the record to have their voice heard. Otherwise, it's still only speculation.

School board meetings have been attended by the local media, and the recent turnout and the petition requesting that school district Superintendent Randy Richards resign from his post was publicized in both the Lake Placid News and its sister paper, the Adirondack Daily Enterprise. The school IS on the media's radar screen.

Where there's smoke, there's not necessarily a fire. And with the school district, there's been enough smoke to warrant the interest of the local media. Now is the time for concerned residents and employees of the Lake Placid Central School District to utilize that media for the public good. If there are bad things going on within the school, you are urged to contact the newspaper. Or maybe the environment is not toxic and it's just a bunch of gripping.

The issues regarding the Lake Placid School District appear to be important enough that plenty of people are talking about it. But change - whether it involves personnel or policy - cannot come with just talk.

The Lake Placid school beat is the responsibility of LPN staff writer Margaret Moran. She can be contacted at 523-4401 or by email at

Letters to the Editor can be submitted to or dropped off to the LPN office, 6179 Sentinel Road. Please remember to include contact information. Anonymous letters will not be published.

And for the record, the LPN?is also soliciting anything good that people have to say about the school district. Not everything in a newspaper has to be negative.



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