Steamboat Springs As parents of children at Strawberry Park, we have watched with amazement the level of venom directed toward John DeVincentis. For twenty-some years he has been a smart, funny, excellent principal, admired and loved by many. And now we see shock and awe at e-mails from two years ago that don't come close to what the two of us said to each other during the last presidential election.
Seriously, we're not going to defend the e-mails, but they certainly don't mean that John should be condemned as a horrible person, as several have written. Who among us hasn't said rotten things about someone in anger and in private? Some of the "kick him while he's down" crowd would surely not look so great if their private e-mails or comments were all printed. We have been to a few School Board meetings and no, we did not find him "rude, condescending, or hateful," as one letter writer said. In fact, we found him to be right on all the issues we were following. He has cared so much about our schools and worked hard for so long that he feels passionate about the issues and also has a great deal of knowledge.
We like this School Board. We've found Denise Connelly, Jeff Troeger, and Jerry Kozatch to be intelligent and conscientious people who are doing a great job volunteering for the thankless role of School Board member. Let's slow down a little, let them do their jobs, and quit screaming for John's immediate resignation or Denise's recall. Unlike some other boards, this one has actually listened respectfully to community input and has tried to get the superintendent to do the things that they ask of her.
We, too, suppose that the hacking of John's computer was directed by someone in the administration. If so, it's a very dirty trick that no one would want played on them. If someone's private e-mails are printed in the newspaper and their reputation ruined, then it's only fair to get the rest of the story. The whole thing seems rather well-choreographed with the retrieval of the e-mails, the timing of their release, and the Pilot & Today protecting its anonymous source.
We also don't think the Pilot & Today is able to report objectively on School Board issues. The newspaper recently sued the board and lost. Now the newspaper is continuing to hassle the Board with more legal threats. It has meant thousands of dollars in legal fees that could have stayed in the school budget. There has been talk about putting the past behind us and moving forward "for the sake of the kids." For the sake of the kids and the Pilot & Today's credibility, it would have been better not to print the e-mails.
Whether John stays or goes remains to be seen, but let's slow down and let this Board do what they need to.
Mary and Jim Darcy