Controversy Continues At Northeast


Rader's Rehire Shows Principal's Prerogative

August 19, 1991|By Pat O'Malley

In what may be a step toward restoring order to the athletic department, controversial Northeast Principal Joseph Carducci has rehired Bart Rader as assistant athletic director.

Rader was rehired last week after twice interviewing for his old job, while longtime athletic director Bob Grimm interviewed for his job and was not brought back. Instead, former track coach and local soccer official Roger Stitt, a social studies teacher at Northeast, has been named acting A.D.

Grimm will remain at Northeast as a social studies teacher.

Rader and Grimm were urged by parents and students to apply for their old positions. It wasn't easy for them to do that, but they did.

"Idid it for the kids because I felt it would help them if one of us was back," Rader said yesterday morning. "I have no idea why I was rehired except that I must have been the best person for the job.

"I did not consider applying for Bob's job but went in very seriously toget my job back. I would hope that things will start to get back to normal and improve."

Let's hope so, for the students' sake, because this fiasco has been rather embarrassing for the education system and the Northeast parents.

The two popular faculty members had beentold near the end of the school year that their contracts would not be renewed. Carducci was not happy with the state of affairs in the athletic department and accused Grimm of insubordination.

When the students and parents in the Pasadena community learned of Grimm's ouster, they made their displeasure public, with rallies and a 1,000-signature petition to the school board.

Recently, the parents renewedtheir call for Carducci's dismissal, charging that his religious beliefs were preventing him from being an effective administrator.

None of that has anything to do with athletics. What the parents had better realize is that even if Carducci is removed, it would not guarantee the return of Grimm as A.D.

Any new principal might not want Grimm either, and in fact, after all the public backlash, it would be highly unlikely that Grimm would be brought back. I'm sure the schoolboard would advise any newcomer that it would not be in the best interests of the system to bring Grimm back.

Granted, hiring the athletic director and coaches is the responsibility of the principal and not the board, but you can't convince me that Superintendent Larry L.Lorton doesn't occasionally have some input, especially in combustible situations such as this. And if Lorton is your boss and suggests something, wouldn't you do well to listen attentively?

I wonder whythose Northeast parents waited until after Grimm's removal to complain about Carducci's religious beliefs and philosophies. Why didn't they bring it up in February and March when Carducci was espousing his feelings to students, parents and faculty members?

No, the bottom line in the Carducci-Grimm flare-up has nothing to do with religious beliefs -- it involves a question of authority.

Carducci asked Grimm to reschedule lacrosse games set for Good Friday.

Grimm told his boss to take a hike and that if he didn't like the Eagles' playing lacrosse on Good Friday that was too bad. Grimm refused to reschedulethe games and told Carducci to change it.

Carducci showed him. Heshowed him the door.

No other county school scheduled an Easter weekend tournament game on Good Friday. To my knowledge, county schools have never scheduled games on Good Friday. Teams normally start Easter tournaments on Thursday, use Saturday as the second day and Easter Monday as a rain date.

After 15 years of doing things his way, Grimm was used to getting his way. All he had to do was change the Good Friday games to another day and he probably still would be athleticdirector. For the first time in his tenure, Grimm ran into a principal who stood up to him and called his bluff.

Just this week, Duke Vickery, a Northeast parent and a guy I played Little League baseballwith, told me that Grimm was the first to tell the parents "give theman a chance," when Carducci was made principal in February.

It'sa shame that Grimm didn't take his own advice and give Carducci a chance to be boss.

I think bringing up Carducci's religious beliefs because what happened to Grimm is a sad commentary on the Northeast parents. Using Carducci's right to oppose abortion as a weapon in hopes of restoring Grimm is unfortunate.

When Carducci announced his policy requiring teachers to report pregnant students to him for personal counseling, the Northeast Community Family Group should have jumped on his case.

To bring it up now enforces Carducci's argument that athletics have taken over the school. The parents have actually given him more ammunition instead of disarming him.

A popular theoryis that Lorton had become increasingly concerned about the "overemphasis" on athletics at Northeast. The school had the lowest math test scores in the county and student-athletes' grade point averages were nothing to write home about.

Lorton wanted to tone down athletics and put academics back in first place, so he brought in Carducci.

Whether or not you agree with Carducci, you have to admire his tenacity and courage to stand up and be counted.

And through all of this, it's good to know that the Board of Education is still running the system and not the parents.

Parental input is important and usually helpful, but you can't let the parents make personnel changes. That's why we have a school board and superintendent.

Perhaps parents will consider replacing the appointed school board with an elected one so that their input will have more impact.

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