Meanwhile, let folks in school buildings know they are appreciated.
IT WOULD BE A colossal understatement to suggest the past few days have been consequential in the School District of Beloit.
As the Beloit Daily News has reported, there was first a harassment complaint against administration filed by a security officer; followed by a blockbuster complaint against Superintendent Stanley Munro by two top members of his own team accusing him of bullying, lying and various other offenses; followed by another administrator’s complaint; followed by the superintendent’s decision to quit his job.
Oh, and then the board voted 5-2 to move toward changing its own leadership — followed by board President Pamela Charles resigning that post.
We can’t even say we’re surprised. The newspaper has been hearing from sources and looking into such issues for months.
TAKE A BREATH. One reaction in the community understandably may be, “Whew. Glad that’s behind us.”
Except it isn’t.
Just because Munro is gone doesn’t mean the process stops. A lot of unanswered questions remain, such as what happens with all the outstanding complaints — and, perhaps, more to come. Presumably, the damage alleged to have been done by Munro doesn’t magically disappear. Complaints still may have to be investigated and, one way or another, resolved. Including, by the way, that at least some members of Munro’s team also face accusations from complaints received.
Likewise, at least some allegations against Munro moved matters into an area that ought to be examined by District Attorney David O’Leary. It was alleged Munro deliberately violated the Wisconsin Public Records Law, and involved others in inappropriately holding back or even attempting to destroy clearly disclosable records. There can be honest disagreements over whether certain records are disclosable, and that is a civil matter under the law. However, violations that are willful and intentional could move the subject into public misconduct territory. DA O’Leary should be given the opportunity to make that determination. As strong public openness advocates, the newspaper believes legal accountability is the right remedy for willful violations.
OBVIOUSLY, THE district also is faced once again with finding interim leadership and then a more permanent solution for the superintendent’s office. This episode will not be helpful in recruiting a successor.
And the board’s role throughout this and earlier problems escapes no one’s notice. An election is coming.
Meanwhile, the focus cannot be returned soon enough to the real victims in all this: students, parents, teachers and support staff. It is of the utmost importance that the school buildings function not just normally, but at a high level. Reach out and let these people know they are appreciated.
We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again: Don’t give up on Beloit’s schools. Problems can be fixed.
But we can’t stress how important it is for adults to act like adults and get back to looking out for our kids.