The euphoria of two state championships continues to be upstaged by a wave of controversy at Northeast High.
Students have threatened a sit-in this morning to protest Wednesday's firing of athletic director Bob Grimm. And yesterday another member of the athletic department staff found out from a reporter that his job is being advertised.
Word spread quickly that students were organizing a protest of principal Joseph Carducci Jr.'s decision not to retain Grimm after 15 years. Grimm's job as social studies teacher, which he has held for 24years, was not affected by the action.
A Northeast student said at least 10 copies of a petition were circulated through the school yesterday, and a sit-in was being planned between 7 and 7:30 this morning in front of the building.
Carducci said he received two petitions with approximately 250 names. Grimm said the petitions would be sent to the school board in Annapolis.
Carducci also confirmed that the school is advertising the job of assistant athletic director without first informing Bart Rader, who took the position last fall.
"To find out from (a reporter), rather than the principal is, to say the least, upsetting," said Rader, the school's football coach and an English teacher.
"I have no idea why. We never even talked. I havean appointment to see him (today), and I'll bring it up when I talk to him."
Rader originally had scheduled a meeting with Carducci earlier in the day to discuss Grimm's status.
"I wanted to talk about the possibility of creating some sort of compromise or resolving the difference's with Bob. Now I have something else(to discuss), too,"Rader said.
"I'm disappointed, especially because I wasn't told. Anybody who's an adult wants to be treated that way, and you expect your superiors to come to you and tell you if you're not doing your job correctly and to give guidance and assistance. But I haven't talkedto him and he hasn't talked to me."
Carducci said he has drafted a letter advertising both positions. He still had not presented Raderwith an evaluation, as he had with Grimm on Wednesday. Grimm's evaluation included accusations of insubordination and philosophical differences between the principal and athletic director.
The letter advertising the jobs "doesn't preclude (Rader) from re-applying for the position," Carducci said. "I haven't talked to him yet, but it's not that he's unsatisfactorily performed his job. This is a year-to-year position. Every coach's job is, whether his rating is satisfactory orunsatisfactory."
Rader said he would not reapply for the job, "not after being treated this way."
As rumors persisted of a possibleprotest over Grimm's dismissal, Carducci, Grimm, vice principals Will Myers and Pat Bronkiewicz and baseball coach Harry Lentz met with four students yesterday afternoon in an attempt to "defuse the situation," Grimm said.
"We explained to them it wasthe wrong thing to do," he said. "Hopefully, the kids will get the word and won't do it. Iknow if they do something like that, the principal has to come down hard on them. If it's the seniors, there could be a problem with graduation. And for the others, it could interfere with some other things."
Carducci said, "Their concerns were that Mr. Grimm was a hard-working AD who put a lot of effort into his job. No argument there. But (Lentz) and Mr. Grimm assured them that any protest was not the right approach."
Carducci said he does not expect the protest to takeplace, and "if it does, it's bad timing.
"It's the end of the year, and I don't want anyone's exams (next week) to be affected," said Carducci, who took over for retired principal Joseph Cardamone on Feb. 1.
"I will not sit by and allow a protest and for students not to be in school. County policy says that I must act on the situation."
When asked what the action would involve, Carducci said, "The long-shot result could be suspension from school, but I'm not focusing on that. I'm hopeful, and I'm assuming that the students will choose the legitimate way I have offered and work within the system."
A group of students were scheduled to meet with Carducci at 7:45 a.m. today, he said, adding, "It's a healthy thing that the students have thewillingness to express themselves in this situation, and I'm trying to allow them a legitimate, reasonable way to do it."
Butch Hanie,president of Northeast's athletic boosters club, said he learned from his son -- an underclassman at the school -- of a possible protest.
"Sometimes you have to let teen-agers express themselves, as longas they don't go too far. That's what the democratic system is all about. And this is one form of it," he said.
"I have been involved with the boosters for 12 years, and I'veknown Mr. Grimm the full 12 years, and I'm upset -- really upset -- about (Grimm's firing). He's done a hell of a lot for the kids and the community itself."
So is senior Don Shump, a member of Northeast's 2A state championship baseball team, who was not at yesterday's meeting.
"Northeast's athletics are going to go downhill if they get rid of Mr. Grimm. He's done everything for that school," he said.
"I think Mr. Carducci wantssomebody that's going to listen to everything he has to say. Mr. Grimm is friends with everybody in the school."
Kristy Zulka, a senior pitcher on the Eagles' four-time defending state-champion softball team, said, "It's like Mr. Grimm has always been a a part of Northeast and the main reason why Northeast is so well known in sports.
"I talked to him every day. I'd go by his office and talk about things every day like a friend."