The problem with Bethlehem Area schools’ mysterious internal investigation |


TURKEYS

We assume the Bethlehem Area School Board has taken appropriate action when it comes to unspecified allegations that were recently made against Superintendent Joseph Roy. It’s merely an assumption because we don’t know for sure that the board’s decision this week to tap an ex-judge to conduct an unspecified internal investigation is related to the allegations against Roy. And that’s a problem. Here’s the backstory: Earlier this month, the school board and Roy acknowledged that they’re working to address an “unfounded allegation” against Roy. The nature of the allegation is a mystery, but school board President Michael Faccinetto noted it wasn’t serious enough to warrant suspending Roy. Fast forward to Monday night. The school board unanimously approved hiring former Northampton County Judge Emil Giordano to conduct an internal investigation of some sort. That’s about all anyone in the know will state publicly. “Neither the district nor I cannot comment on any legal or personnel matters,” Roy said. If Roy is the subject of the investigation, what’s stopping him from saying so? If he isn’t the subject, whose right to due process or privacy is he violating by confirming it’s another, unidentified district employee? The district’s payroll includes more than 1,700 full-time employees at last count. There’s not much of a guilty-by-process-of-elimination argument to be made with those numbers. These allegations against Roy are out there. He is the top educator at one of the largest school districts in the state and has an elevated public profile given his passionate (and commendable) advocacy for public schools. Dancing around this matter by invoking policies that aren’t applicable is the wrong approach. Roy deserves a thorough investigation before most details of the case are released. That said, there’s a difference between protecting the integrity of the investigation and stonewalling a concerned public. This seems more like stonewalling. It sows doubt over the district’s professionalism and fuels rumors that malign Roy. Everyone involved would be wise to err more on the side of transparency.

TROPHIES



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