Used to be when times got tough, Octorara board member could sooth their weathered brows by looking east toward the Coatesville School District thanking their lucky stars they didn’t have it as rough as Coatesville’s board members did.
Today though, according to a series of articles in the Philadelphia Inquire, there is a new neighboring school district Octorara’s directors may want to look to for soothing relief from the burden of overseeing Octorara Area School District: Oxford Area School District.
The Oxford district is in a none-to-pretty tug of war with their high school principal, David Madden, that threaten to split the district administration team, nine-member board and the entire Oxford community right down the middle.
Old timers will recognize Madden of course as the former principal of Octorara High School.
We wrote about the tussle back in April just as the mess was emerging into the headlines. For what were then unspecified reasons, Madden was placed on administrative leave by Raymond Fischer, Oxford’s Superintendent.
We now know some of what Madden, an ex-Marine, did to land in hot water. He wrote incendiary texts about a special ed student DURING a conference with the child’s parents and advocate.
Not a smart move to text anything you don’t want others to read. An even dumber, not to mention impolite, move to text while the child’s mother is in the room with you as you text away, about her child.
Anyway, the text was seen, records were subpoenaed and Madden as they say, was history.
But not so fast. That’s not the end of the story!
The Oxford School board, in a 6-3 vote last week, opted to restore Madden to his Principal position. Well almost.
Their stipulation was, in addition to being ordered to undergo a psychological evaluation and drug test before coming back to work, that Madden not have any interaction with the high schools 200 special ed kids.
So as of today Madden remains Principal but he has no say over the education of 20% of the school’s student body. Where’s King Solomon when you need him?
You can read the entire sorry saga here and here in today and yesterday’s Inquire. But stay tuned, we haven’t seen the last of this one. I suspect there are still more chapters of this story yet to be told.
Finally, say what you will about Octorara’s school board and administrative team, but believe me when I say this would never happen at Octorara under this current team of administrators and if it did happen, the administration and school board would handle it a whole lot better than our ham-handed neighbors to the south have.
Of that I am certain.