CONCORD — School board members received copies of a petition from a community group calling for the removal of Superintendent Terri Forsten.
The online petition was posted Friday by parent group CSD Advocates for Change, and had more than 2,100 online signatures as of Wednesday evening.
Darlene Gildersleeve, a founding member of the group, said she emailed the petition to all 12 members of the school board Wednesday.
“Removing the superintendent would rebuild public trust,” Gildersleeve said. The petition expresses outrage at school officials’ alleged failure to immediately report to police allegations of sexual abuse and bullying, instead allegedly conducting internal investigations and then reporting the results of those investigations to law enforcement.
“We feel the administration was not properly protecting students,” Gildersleeve said.
Forsten did not return a phone call Wednesday afternoon.
The school board’s president, Jennifer Patterson issued a statement Wednesday evening saying, “The Board is aware of the petition, is taking the situation very seriously, and is listening carefully to all input received from the public. As you know, there is an independent investigation underway that relates to many of the circumstances giving rise to the petition. When the Board receives the results of the investigation, we will determine what action is appropriate. “
Gildersleeve said she plans to hand-deliver more signatures to an open meeting of the board on Sept. 3. She said CSD Advocates for Change would hold a protest outside the meeting.
On Wednesday evening, the school board met in a non-public meeting with its attorneys. This was the fourth closed-door meeting of the Concord school board in the last month, and the second this week.
State law limits non-public meetings to just six topics: dismissal, discipline, promotion or pay of a public employee; hiring a public employee; any matter that could harm the reputation of someone who is not a member of the board; discussions about buying and selling property; discussion of lawsuits and potential lawsuits against the board or its members; and emergency functions to thwart terrorism.
Minutes of the non-public meetings are to be released within 72 hours, unless the discussion would hurt someone’s reputation, or if releasing the minutes would give away information about property negotiations or anti-terrorism measures.