February 20, 2018

Region 4 Issues Statement on High School Principal Matter

REGION 4— Region 4 school officials have issued a statement on the situation involving Valley Regional High School Principal Eric Rice as the recently hired administrator was reported to remain on the job Monday.

The “official statement from Region 4 schools” was issued late Friday, one day after a group of parents, students, and residents gathered outside the district’s administrative offices in Deep River amid reports that Superintendent of Schools Ruth Levy had given Rice a resign-or-be-fired ultimatum. Rice, a Chester resident, had been hired for the principal position over the summer and had been on the job with students for three weeks

The statement is as follows “We are aware of the rumors that have been spreading throughout the community about a confidential personnel matter, and we urge the public to refrain from gossip or speculation about personnel issues. Personnel matters are within the purview of the administration: and the board of education members, as individuals, are not privy to confidential information concerning personnel matters. In rare circumstances, the board as  a whole may have a defined role in certain proceedings regarding personnel. At this time , the board has not been asked to review any specific personnel issue. In the event that the board is asked to review a personnel matter at some point in the future, it is very important that the board have the ability to review such information objectively, without preconceived notions that may be formed through rumor and speculation. For that reason communications with board members about individual employees are not appropriate, as the board’s ability to fulfill its duties may be deleteriously impacted by such communications. Thank you for your cooperation in respecting the board’s role in this regard.”

The statement echoes comments made Friday by Region 4 Board Chairwoman Linda Hall of Deep River confirming that the nine-member board could have to serve as an “impartial jury” in the event Levy seeks dismissal of Rice, and he asks for a formal public hearing on the action. Hall indicated she has no immediate plans to call a special meeting of the board on the principal matter.

Rice was reported to be on the job at the school Monday. There were also reports that some residents may be planning a petition drive in the district towns of Chester, Deep River and Essex on the situation, possibly requesting a public meeting on the situation.

Related Stories:

Valley Regional High School Principal Remains on Job as School Board Awaits Next Step

Parents and Students Protest Move to Dismiss Valley Regional High School Principal

Protest Planned Against VRHS Principal’s Dismissal

Region 4 Hires New Principal, Two Other Positions

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