Students, faculty and parents showed up to the Jan. 3 Lake Placid Central School Board meeting asking again for further disciplinary action or the resignation of Superintendent Randy Richards.
This is the second meeting members of the community have asked board members to seek Richards’ resignation.
The demands stem from comments made by Richards in a private meeting with Middle/High School Principal Katherine Mulderig in February where he referred to her and female elementary employees as “bitchy.”
Richards sent a formal apology via e-mail to school district staff for his remarks on Dec. 9, and school board President Phil Baumbaugh has said the board will be standing behind Richards.
“An apology sent via e-mail and accepted by the board president is not a board solution it’s an appeasement,” said Robert Schiller, former Lake Placid Middle/High School principal, at the Jan. 3 School Board meeting.
In a commentary submitted to the Adirondack Daily Enterprise, Baumbach explained why the board continued to support Richards.
“In recent weeks, select community members have chosen to focus on a narrow issue involving the use of some inappropriate language by the Superintendent of Schools in a private conversation with the High School Principal,” Baumbach wrote. “It is puzzling how this incident came to light and, while some may desire to discuss personnel issues publicly, it would be inappropriate and non-productive for the Board to do so at this time.”
Patti Gallagher, a mother of three children attending the Lake Placid Central School District, attended the Jan. 3 meeting. She said the way Baumbach interpreted public opinion as a “narrow issue” was inappropriate and concerns were raised due to a badly handled administration.
“People raised concerns with the dysfunctional administration team, inappropriate spending, outsourcing consultants and other significant issues,” Gallagher said. “To me it is not about taking sides its about making choices that will benefit the students.”
Micheal Butler asked the board why they had not given the community a reason for allowing Richards to remain as superintendent.
“We’ve heard nothing from the school board about why you’re keeping him,” Butler said. “This silence is a toxic cloud that won’t go away. If this town is ready for a female mayor or supervisor, it is ready for a female school principal.”
Richards refused to comment on the statements made to him during the open comment period, but he said he feels the members of the community who spoke didn’t seek an alternative to his resignation.
“I think the community has made it very clear what they wanted tonight,” Richards said after the meeting.