The home invasion, murder, and attempted murder were not the end of the story for the town of Mount Vernon. The next stage of the horror was not physical, but spiritual, brought about not by depraved killers, but by liberal bureaucrats: the photos of the two teenaged suspects, students in the local high school, were included in the high school year book. Here, from the Union Leader, is the latest on the controversy set off by that decision, a decision which is monstrous and inhuman yet also fully consistent with the dictates of liberal bureaucracy:
Crowd confronts school board over yearbook photos
AMHERST — Souhegan High School parents verbally let loose Thursday night, calling for the resignation of Superintendent Mary A. Jennings at a school board meeting to discuss why photos of the Mont Vernon murder suspects appeared in the Class of 2010 yearbook.
“The liberal political correctness has to stop,” Bob Choquette of Amherst said, before calling Jennings “incompetent.”
School officials were also blasted for a plan to distribute black stickers to students to place over the photos of William Marks and Quinn Glover. The two were students at the school when they were arrested last October for their role in the grisly murder of Kimberly Cates and the near-deadly assault on her 11-year-old daughter. Not only were photos of the pair in the yearbook, but someone purchased a quarter-page advertisement with a message of luck to Glover.
School Board Chairman Steve Coughlan read a statement at the start of Thursday night’s meeting saying school officials have personally apologized to Cates’ husband, David Cates, who wrote a harsh letter to the school department earlier this month condemning the yearbook decision.
“The board and administration both express regret for the pain this has caused for the community and we apologize for that,” Coughlan said.
Many who attended Thursday night’s meeting criticized the school administration for not expelling the two students after they were arrested.
Officials said the students were included in the yearbook because they were still receiving educational services from the district in prison.
The school’s attorney, Gordon Graham of Salem, said the students are required by law to have due process before being expelled.
Wendy Hunt of Amherst, who said she is a former prosecutor and lawyer from Florida, disagreed with Graham.
“Statutes can be interpreted differently, that’s why there’s lawsuits,” Hunt said. “I would have said, ‘Let’s expel them. Let them sue us.’”
The 90-minute yearbook discussion ended on a sour note after a heated exchange between Mont Vernon resident Angela McLaughlin and school board member Jeanne Ludt. McLaughlin criticized Principal Jim Bosman for knowing Marks and Glover would be included in the yearbook months in advance. Jennings knew about the decision to include the pictures one week before the books were printed.
“You’re making comments on things you don’t know anything about,” Ludt said to McLaughlin.
Ludt’s comment prompted an outcry from the audience, with one woman saying, “That’s insulting.”
A man called Ludt, “Holier than thou.”
Shortly after the comments, Coughlan yelled at a man who was talking out of turn and called a recess without making a motion to do so.
Jennings did not address calls for her resignation during the meeting and refused to comment to a New Hampshire Union Leader reporter afterward.
The meeting began with Amherst resident Greg Earley asking Jennings to resign, saying the school’s decision to allow the yearbook pictures was an over-the-top example of political correctness.
“This is Amherst, New Hampshire. We’re not Amherst, Massachusetts,” Earley said. “We don’t harbor terrorists… or harbor murderers. We run a different set of rules here.”
“You decided to discuss (the yearbook issue) with the parents of the students. We didn’t discuss it with the parents of the girl who watched her mother get killed,” Peter Rowe of Amherst said. “I cannot vote Mary Jennings out of office, but I can vote this board out of office.”
Amily Moore of Amherst also called on Jennings to resign and handed out copies of a petition asking for Jennings’ resignation.
“I’m standing here in awe,” Moore said. “When people make bad decisions, there are consequences, and I don’t see any.”
“One of the things that’s disturbed me was the example you set for the young people of this community,” Neil Suice of Amherst said to the board. “The administration was trying to cover their behinds.”
“I think your sticker idea is pretty lame,” Suice added. “I’d like to see my taxpayer (money) re-print a yearbook. If that causes a budget problem for you, that’s fine.”
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