Fresh start for Northeast High

March 08, 1994

Northeast High Principal Joseph Carducci Jr. is being transferred to Anne Arundel County school headquarters in June, a change that will upset some but which probably is for the best.

His instructional qualifications notwithstanding, Dr. Carducci has been a lightning rod ever since he was assigned to Northeast three years ago. His religious convictions improperly intruded into school life and stirred up a tempest on two occasions -- once when he fired Northeast's popular athletic director for holding a lacrosse tournament on Good Friday, and again when he advised girls to see him if they were pregnant and considering an abortion.

Then came Washington lawyer Alan I. Baron's investigation of the Ronald W. Price affair. While the Baron report found others far more culpable than Dr. Carducci, it said he showed "an extraordinary lack of vigilance" in picking up on signs of Price's sexual abuse and that he neglected to help staff and students in the scandal's aftermath. The report recommended he be reassigned.

Since then, disagreement over Dr. Carducci has festered in the Northeast community. The school system allowed these divisions to worsen by giving no indication what it intended to do about the Northeast principal. The school board had verbally accepted the Baron report's recommendation; but as time went by and nothing happened. Dr. Carducci's opponents became disgruntled because he was still there, while his supporters started to rally in hopes of keeping him.

The formation of such factions is destructive in any school community. Newly appointed Superintendent Carol S. Parham did the right thing by announcing Dr. Carducci's fate now, even though the transfer will not occur until June. Her decision takes the fuel out of the fire. The pro- and anti-Carducci camps no longer have any reason to jockey for influence.

Dr. Parham's action also gives Northeast what it most needs -- a fresh start. The power structure that spawned the Price scandal is being swept away.

As decisions about Northeast's future are resolved, so is the controversy. The TV cameras already are finding there isn't much fodder on Duvall Highway anymore.

Starting in September, with a new principal in charge and a new crop of students, Northeast should bear an increasingly dim resemblance to the school Ronald Price made famous.

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