By JOHN F. SCOTT IV
While it is regrettable that potentially confidential and damaging emailed communications were provided to Day reporter Chuck Potter, I think it does provide an opportunity to open the conversation and for all of us who have either been witnesses to or victim of suspended Groton Superintendent Paul Kadri's bullying to publically speak up. As the chairman of the Groton Phase Two School Design Committee and as a former member of the Groton RTM Education Committee I witnessed first hand several instances of the blatant bullying of which this man is capable.
During my chairmanship of the phase two committee I was a victim of his bullying because I was not in support of the location he wanted for the new middle school. I had publically stated that the Kolnaski site was where I thought the school should go, which earned me a 45-minute telephone tongue lashing.
During one of my phase two meetings he, in front of everyone present, verbally bullied school board member Beverly Washington for asking what I thought was a very poignant question. She was visibly upset by what was said to her and left the meeting early. It is my understanding that due to that incident more than a year passed before she was willing to attend a meeting of the Board of Education.
As chairman of phase two I took a keen interest in the referendum process and coordinated the final days of the "Vote Yes" campaigning out of my office. Just after the conclusion of a campaign meeting, Kadri suddenly and without provocation was yelling and screaming at school board members Kirsten Hoyt and Elizabeth Gianacoplos, stating that they had not done enough to promote phase two. I regret that I did not save the tape of this event from my agency's video surveillance system, which recorded the entire incident.
During my recent term as member of the Groton RTM I was assigned a seat on the education committee. During one of the joint school board and RTM education committee budget meetings held at the public school offices, I witnessed Kadri verbally bully, in front of everyone present, school board member Rita Volkman for again asking what I thought was a poignant budget-related question.
If I as one volunteer to the town can document four examples and five victims of Kadri's bullying behavior I am sure that there are others who encompass all walks of town government, committees, PTOs, political groups, etc. who can do the same. Clearly the town's attorney is concerned about Kadri bullying witnesses by retaliation, but if enough of us speak up about what we saw it will be harder for him to do just that. If no one pushes back on the bully then the bully wins.
I do not want to see a bully, who clearly needs be fired, paid off with my hard-earned tax dollars. I encourage anyone who witnessed his bullying behavior to speak up by writing this newspaper or by speaking before the Board of Education.
John F. Scott IV lives in Groton and is president of Bailey Insurance Agencies.