Northeast's Former Athletics Chief Sent To Meade

August 27, 1991|By Robert Lee | Robert Lee,Staff writer

Northeast High School social studies teacher Bob Grimm, whose removal as athletic director lies at the heart of the controversy over the tenure of Principal Joseph Carducci Jr., was transferred yesterday toMeade High School.

"I received a call at five after 1 (yesterday)afternoon from the principal of Meade telling me it was an administrative decision by (Superintendent of Schools) Dr. (Larry L.) Lorton and that I should report to Meade High School tomorrow morning," the 24-year veteran said when contacted by phone yesterday.

He said he hadn't applied for the Meade job but had inquired about social studies openings last week at the county school personnel office. He refrained from further comment on the transfer.

School board officials were not available to comment on the transfer yesterdayafternoon.

Grimm was removed from the athletic director's post heheld for 15 years last spring by Carducci, who cited philosophical differences and insubordination. Grimm had scheduled a lacrosse tournament on Good Friday against Carducci's wishes.

Lorton's move effectively ends any hope parents had that Grimm might be reinstated as Northeast's athletic director on the same day a group of 40 parents metin West Pasadena to organize an informative protest rally scheduled for tomorrow.

When parent Paul Zimmerman told the other parents about Grimm's transfer, they were stunned.

"That's to me just another example of the fear and intimidation used by the school board," Zimmerman said. "They meant this as a punch right to the solar plexus, to take the wind out of us.

"As far as I'm concerned it's not goingto make me go away."

The Northeast Community Family Group plans to conduct what organizers bill as a "peaceful, informative rally" at 6:30 p.m. tomorrow outside of school grounds where the families of incoming ninth-graders will meet for high school orientation.

Grimm's transfer also came just as many Northeast families received a letter from Carducci containing his first public statement on the controversy since a massive student protest rally last May.

In the four-page, single-spaced letter, Carducci implores that "it is time to move on" 14 different times, pleading with parents to drop the "so-called 'Northeast Controversy' " because the issues have been "satisfactorily explained" and the students have been exposed to enough strife.

Members of the parents group that is demanding Carducci's removal saythe letter is insulting and does nothing to assure them that his strong religious beliefs are not interfering with counseling, teaching and athletic programs at the school.

Linda Grunder was present at aJune 14 meeting with Carducci, Director of Secondary Schools ShirleyHicks and several parents where the parents questioned Carducci's policy requiring faculty members to tell him about any student who was pregnant and considering an abortion so he could counsel her against it. The four parents confirmed that Hicks told them Carducci was within his rights to institute such a policy.

In the letter to Northeast parents Carducci contradicts their account.

"This is the information given to parents two months ago," he wrote. "First, the principal never told the faculty to report pregnant students to him. Second,when the principal did learn of pregnant students, he directed them to . . . the 12th-grade administrator and the . . . pupil personnel worker to give them every possible assistance to help them . . . "

Four faculty members, including transferred guidance counselor Leonard Sokoloff, have confirmed that Carducci announced a policy requiringthem to report pregnant students who are considering abortions to him for counseling at his first faculty meeting in February.

Such a policy would be at odds with county school policy because Carducci does not have counseling training.

In the letter, Carducci repeatedly questioned the parents' claims that his religious positions are at issue, asking rhetorically if it is "an indirect way of expressing dissatisfaction with the decision of the principal regarding the athletic directors rather than a real concern for this resolved issue."

He also questions the disgruntled parents' judgment in having last night's meeting at the Woodland Beach Inn, a restaurant that has a bar.

"It is rumored that a meeting is being planned to discuss these issues with potential student involvement in an establishment which serves alcohol. Is this in the best interest of the school or its students?" he wrote.

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