I received this comment today:

“In the last 2 posts, you refer to the Mariners principal as “being thrown under the bus.” If she was innocent of the charges against her (as the district’s investigation found), then why was she demoted by that same district? If she is guilty of fraud (as the staff of the school assert) then why isn’t the disciplinary action appropriate (although in the “real world” she would have been fired instead of simply moved to another location)?

“The superintendent’s eschewal of culpability does not exonerate the principle – the one who initiated, researched, assembled, submitted, and signed her name to the document in question. How is she being thrown under the bus?”

All good question and comments. Here goes: First, she was demoted and sent to Siberia before there was any evidence of a willful intent to deceive or, in fact, any confirmed evidence of any errors at all. That is what the investigation was supposed to show.

Second, the concept of throwing someone under the bus means that one person – typically – takes the fall for another person or a group of people. The person being thrown may be guilty or innocent – doesn’t matter. What matters is that the other people who were involved are not punished. In this case, the superintendent signed the document. At the very least, he needs to acknowledge that he should have done a better job of confirming the information in the application before he signed it. Without his admission of responsibility, she is perceived as the only person who did anything wrong. She is not.

She is being thrown under the bus because to date, she is the only person employed by the district who has suffered any consequences from this mess. She is being thrown under the bus because neither her boss/her direct report nor the superintendent chose to issue a syllable in her defense when this incident occurred. Contrast that to at least two school board club members who spoke out publicly in defense of ex-Supt. Jeffrey Hubbard during his trial five years ago. Both proclaimed his innocence long before a verdict had been reached. (He was found guilty.)

She is being thrown under the bus because the superintendent is more concerned about his reputation and legacy than he is about doing the right thing. What he doesn’t realize is that there are many people in the district who know what he has done and instead of protecting his reputation, he has damaged it.

This is not an isolated incident. Since he has been in charge, the superintendent has failed to take responsibility for ANY of the many problems the district has experienced on his watch. He should be admitting, for example, his key role in adopting Swun Math and telling us that he chose the wrong program.

I hope that helps. Thanks for writing.

Steve Smith
Taxpayer, N-MUSD