The complaints range from weak "social skills" to a propensity for unnecessary change. After only four months on the job, Northeast principal Joseph Carducci Jr. is being compared by angry students with oneof the most hated figures in the world.
"Carducci -- Saddam of Northeast" was one of the many hand-made signs at Friday morning's demonstration outside Northeast, where between 250 and 300 students gathered to protest what they view as unfair treatment of popular AthleticDirector Bob Grimm.
Carducci suspended four students for "insubordination, for inciting a riot and inciting a school disturbance, and for failure to follow directives to go to classes."
Grimm learned Wednesday from his yearly evaluation that Carducci intended to advertise the position of athletic director. The one-paragraph statement included an accusationof insubordination and cited "philosophical differences" between Carducci and Grimm.
Carducci would not elaborate on what those philosophical differences were.
Assistant Athletic Director Bart Rader learned from a reporter Thursday that his position also was being advertised, though he had not received an evaluation.
"The students are outraged. They don't even want to shake his hand at graduation (June 8)," said Joe Rolf, senior class vice president and among those whoorganized Friday's rally.
"It's really unclear what he wants to do and why he's doing it," said junior Andy Becker, a member of Northeast's 2A state champion baseball team. "We know he fired Mr. Grimm, but why? Mr. Grimm was doing such a great job."
Grimm was the firstto address the crowd. Speaking into a bullhorn, he asked that the students go to their classrooms.
"I was really disturbed to see the kids doing this," he said. "I understand their support and I appreciate that they would do something like this in a genuine show of interest in the situation that we're involved in here. But I'd rather see the kids go back to class."
Grimm's ouster wasn't the only grievance voiced by a sector of the student body that perceives Carducci -- who spent the last nine years as assistant principal at Andover -- as being "unapproachable."
"The second and third day of classes during second semester, I went around to every class, introduced myself and said 'hello' to the students, invited them to come down and talk orwhatever. And that has occurred. I've gone out of my way to meet andgreet students in the hallways," Carducci said.
Some students saythey're concerned by a rumor that Carducci wants the Northeast athletic programs to bypass certain holiday sporting events.
"That's tradition. We don't want to see tradition go down the drain," Becker said. "There's college scouts coming to these tournaments. There's a lot of recognition coming out of them and he's trying to get rid of them. We don't want it."
Carducci said: "I had a talk with the athletic director and one coach, to date, talking about the reasons why they want holiday tournaments, and that kind of thing. I haven't made any final decisions on that yet. I'm still gathering information and listening to what people have to say. I would like to have finished talking to all the people sooner, but events just have not allowed that to happen."