Editor, Townsman:

The news that three veteran and well-respected teachers of South Elementary School were “reassigned” next year to other elementary schools in Andover is disgraceful, deeply upsetting and very concerning.

These reassignments, cloaked in the guise of a reallocation of resources, does not fool us. One can only presume that these reassignments serve as punishment for these teachers who were investigated for hostile work environment complaints earlier this year.

I am sure the superintendent can claim this “had to be done” because of the findings of that investigation. However, even if we accept the validity of those findings, this is not the only way to handle things, nor the best way, nor even a good way.

The South School community is broken, and this does nothing but create more unrest and set us back in the healing process.

I once asked the School Committee why Superintendent Sheldon Berman received only a reprimand for releasing a confidential employee memo to the press, potentially causing significant liability to the town and causing irreparable harm to a man’s reputation, and why he only got another reprimand for lying about his experience with another coach. I was told everyone makes mistakes, and they felt a reprimand was severe enough.

Where is the grace and mercy that the School Committee extended to Berman now? He doesn’t choose to extend that same courtesy to these teachers at South? The hypocrisy is alarming.

Sadly, the children at South are the ones who will suffer most. In the midst of a pandemic, Berman is taking away from these kids three beloved teachers.

For many of these children, these teachers are a lifeline — to learning, stability, reassurance and comfort. Now they are left with yet another upheaval in their lives.

Annmarie Conner



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