Who is threatening the children?

Last week Superintendent Metzler put out a press release that has been picked up internationally saying, untruthfully, that Hampstead Budget Committee Chairman, Jorge Mesa-Tejada, had a “blatant disregard for the safety of our children.”

Here is the relevant excerpt from this press release of Jan. 15:

First and foremost, we wish to state that the School Board and district administrators have a long established commitment and responsibility to the safety and well-being of our students and staff members.

Second, we take seriously these offensive and disgusting statements made by Mr. Mesa-Tejada and wholeheartedly denounce his behavior and blatant display of disregard for our children and their safety. Additionally we call into question his fitness to serve in any town official capacity.

Providing a safe and welcoming school environment for our students and staff is a priority and we are committed to this endeavor. We would like to reassure concerned students, parents, teachers, and staff members that we will continue to do everything within our power to ensure our schools are safe.

“The district administration has a long established commitment and responsibility to the safety and well-being of our students….”  That’s good to hear asserted, but how does it jibe with Superintendent Metzler’s retaliatory threats against the budgets of Sandown schools?

During Timberlane’s budget season, our superintendent repeatedly threatened to freeze a line or lines in Sandown schools’ budgets to pay for snow clearing if the school district budget committee denied extra funds to the district for this purpose – even though the Town of Sandown has said repeatedly they intend to continue plowing Sandown Central.

Why would only the budget of Sandown schools be affected?  Is it the school’s fault the budget committee decided against making the taxpayers double pay for snow clearing?

At last night’s Sandown Board of Selectman meeting (Jan. 18), Selectman Tom Tombarello said he had been in private conversation with Dr. Metzler that day and Metzler stated that he would freeze a line or lines in Sandown schools budgets to recover the costs to the district for anything associated with a new withdrawal plan.

Think about this.  Is the superintendent of a district threatening to use school building operating funds as a political weapon against children and parents?

Mr. Tombarello repeated Dr. Metzler’s alleged threat with conviction and fear. As a selectman, Mr. Tombarello’s reaction should have been anger and defiance.

The district ran a $4 million surplus in 14/15.  It is budgeted to run a $1.6 million this year. Yet, supposedly, the district needs to freeze money from the elementary schools of one pesky town to stay solvent?

Does such a threat as this correspond with a concern for the well-being of our children?

Is this is the kind of district the parents of Sandown are fighting to stay in? So they can be bullied with their own money and see their children’s comfort in school buildings held hostage?

To the vocal opponents of withdrawal, I ask you: where is your outrage?  This time the threat serves your political interests.  Next time it won’t.






Filed under Sandown Issues

13 responses to “Who is threatening the children?

  1. Lou Farrell

    Dear Ms. Green. I agree that this situation was not handled well. However, I do feel that Mr. Mesa-Tejada’s comments needed to be taken seriously. Just not so publicly. Playing devil’s advocate, I would say that what if there was a scenario where the Hampstead school district took no action over these comments and a tragedy did occur? Who would be held accountable?

    With regard to the issue of freezing line items, I have very mixed feelings about it, but I do believe there is some justification to it. My main reason is this issue has been addressed and discussed last year and while I realize you are not satisfied with the outcome, you were given the opportunity to open discussion up for withdrawal. The problem lies with the way it was framed to the citizens of Sandown and the district as “just a study”. And, I am sorry, that is on you and the other sponsors of the 2015 CP.

    So, I am sure you can understand my, and I am sure others, frustration and exasperation in this second attempt at withdrawal. and the costs all four towns will incur. When will this madness end? And if it does not resolve to your satisfaction, then what?

    • There should be no cost to do a study or to hire lawyers. Cooperation is required and that is all. It is only the district’s recalcitrance and bad faith that has cause any district taxpayers money. And it is our right under the law.

    • Ken in NH

      “However, I do feel that Mr. Mesa-Tejada’s comments needed to be taken seriously. Just not so publicly.”

      What in his comment “needed to be taken seriously”? Did he threaten anyone or state that he would do the things described? I reviewed the video and I clearly understood that he was relating a hypothetical situation. If anyone in the room thought differently, their reactions did not convey that. No one made a phone call to 911 or left the room for fear of their safety. Do you truly fear that Mr. Mesa-Tejada will do the actions described? If so, why are you not calling for armed guards at the school and asking for a mental competency exam? If he is such an imminent threat, a simple no-trespass order of questionable legality would not stop him.

      If you think his comments “need to be taken seriously”, then serious action should be taken. Nothing short of Mr. Mesa-Tejada’s arrest and conviction will stop the serious threat. But I suspect that you, like Dr. Metzler, mean to take it seriously only as a means to silence a critic.

      • It is possible that Lou meant that the issue of vulnerability in the school playground is the issue to be taken seriously. If so, I think that is taking things to extreme, too.

      • Lou Farrell

        Hi Ken. When I say taken seriously, I mean they should be investigated and not left without a response. I feel the same way about anyone who would make a comment that could be implied as terrorism. In today’s climate, these statements, regardless of their merit, need to be looked into. No stone unturned. So, do I believe that Mr. Mesa-Tejada posed a serious threat? Absolutely not.

        As for me being on the side of silencing a critic, you are completely off-base. Up until last week, I’ve never heard of him and knew nothing about him.

      • Ken in NH

        You say that you do not believe Mr. Mesa-Tejada to be a serious threat and yet you want him investigated. What exactly should he be investigated for if his comments were not threatening? Bad taste?

  2. Why was he not issued a “no trespass” order”? I find his threats far more real and hurtful to the education and children of the district than Mr. Mesa-Tejada’s comments. Was he at least given a letter of reprimand like Mr. Mesa-Tejada was given by a school principal? Why is the superintendent allowed to misuse his power while the school boards kowtow to him? A school board member is subjected to character assassination by the media because our superintendent is allowed to wield whatever sword he chooses. The school board as a body refuses to stand together to shield their fellow board members or the taxpayers they serve. What has to happen before the board will unite and act responsibly against Mr. Metzler?

    • Thank you for this comment. Just to be clear, Mesa-Tejada is the Chairman of the Hampstead Budget Committee which oversees in an advisory capacity the Hampstead School District budget. There has been a little confusion about this in the media.

  3. Tombarallo should have stayed retired. Relection will becoming for this RINO.

  4. Mark Acciard

    I wonder if the school was exhibiting this ” long established commitment and responsibility to the safety and well-being of our students” in their abysmal handling of the Scott Buati affair? Was that handled in the best interests of the students? Or the School District admin?

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