The case of the missing principal and ego

By Reade Brower | Nov 30, 2017

Let’s start locally with the unexplained absence of Medomak Valley High School Principal Andrew Cavanaugh.

According to news reports; Cavanaugh has been missing in action for several weeks and school leaders have no formal comment. Of course, informal comments abound and reliable and not-so-reliable sources suggest impropriety, but no one will go on record. The media, without being able to name sources, stays on the sidelines, which helps no one, and hurts everyone, including Cavanaugh.

This seems so unfair, especially to Cavanaugh; the “hush, hush” nature and Regional School Unit 40 Superintendent Steve Nolan’s “cannot confirm or deny” Cavanaugh’s absence followed by “our highest priority, as always, is the safety and well-being of our students” suggests foul play, and yet it is all innuendo.

The public deserves explanations and silence will not make this go away; rather, the public will speculate while waiting for the other shoe to drop.

Cavanaugh also remains silent on the subject.

What the public needs is truth, what Cavanaugh needs is a pathway to tomorrow. A police investigation conducted by Detective Don Murray into a complaint about inappropriate contact with a student determined that no crime had been committed. Waldoboro Police Chief William Labombarde would not comment on details and said he referred the matter to the Knox County Sheriff’s Department.

We have the public’s right to know, the victim’s (if there is one) right to privacy, and the accused person’s career and reputation on the line. In the end, the truth (or some version of the truth) will come out; in the meantime, a man’s life is put on hold while the public is left to wonder what is meant by “safety and well-being of our students.”

Without further information, that statement fuels the speculation fires and puts Cavanaugh at a disadvantage; until we have some facts, we should not judge, but human nature sometimes has a mind of its own.

It is only fair to demand the truth; keeping a secret does not help Cavanaugh, or the parents and children of Medomak Valley High School, move forward. The truth is the only thing that will set us free (although first it might make us miserable) in this situation.

Note to School Board -- cloak-and-dagger secrecy does not build trust.

In situations like this, you want to trust that administrators are doing the right thing, but the only way to get trust is through transparency. There is none here, and the administrators, who hold a man’s life in the balance, need to step up and share some information and help us understand what’s going on.

***

The topic of ego came up when President Donald Trump recently went on another Twitter tirade, claiming to have refused Time Magazine’s overtures to be its “Person of the Year” because they only told him “probably” when asking for an interview. He tweeted: “probably isn’t good enough" and he would pass on the opportunity. Time Magazine then tweeted the president was “incorrect,” and that it doesn’t comment on its choice until publication, which is Dec. 6.

Earlier in November, the president helped secure the release of three UCLA basketball players, arrested for shoplifting. His original tweets boasted of his accomplishment and ended, “Do you think the three UCLA Basketball Players will say thank you President Trump? They were headed for 10 years in jail!”

When the father of one of the players downplayed Trump’s role, the president sent out an angry tweet: “Now that the three basketball players are out of China and saved from years in jail, LaVar Ball, the father of LiAngelo, is unaccepting of what I did for his son and that shoplifting is no big deal. I should have left them in jail!”

Both tweets are juvenile and speak to how dangerous it is when ego leads the way. A healthy ego is necessary for us to find balance in who we are, and a key to happiness is being “good enough and smart enough” in our own mind's eye.

However, too much ego suggests the opposite; Trump is the leader of the free world and is whining about not being picked and not being thanked. Tweeting this kind of nonsense does not move us forward.

Give me a doer over a talker; you’ll find a thinker and a person guided by love -- not one ruled by hate or fear.

***

“For all our conceits about being the center of the universe, we live in a routine planet of a humdrum star stuck away in an obscure corner ... on an unexceptional galaxy which is one of 100 billion galaxies. ... That is the fundamental fact of the universe we inhabit, and it is very good for us to understand that.”

--- Carl Sagan, astronomer, writer (1934-1996)

Comments (2)
Posted by: Dale Hayward | Nov 30, 2017 11:07

Seth Hall: I agree with you, for what little that may be of value, that Reade, whom I have supported since some 30 years ago, has dealt a severe blow to the integrity of this paper and the overall expectation(s) of what we have for laws in place to protect innocent (until proven guilty) and to control the mob-like careless remarks, accusations and darts thrown out of either pure conjecture or gossip which does nothing to bring clarity and justice to an unfortunate situation. I hope that Reade will re-evaluate this article and perhaps offer a more legalistic explanation to align with the process as being followed by the school board and administration. What can be served by NOT following this process?



Posted by: Seth Hall | Nov 30, 2017 10:07

Regarding the Cavanaugh issue, as a former RSU 40 School Board member representing Waldoboro, I believe that the Administration and Board are doing exactly what is prescribed by law: keeping a personnel matter private, and discussing it only behind closed doors, e.g., in executive session, also as prescribed by law.

As the author suggests, more details about this unfortunate situation are likely to come out eventually, but at this point, the protection of the individuals involved are paramount, and the RSU 40 Administration and School Board are correct in their application of Maine State law. Speculation, not to say voyeurism, have no place in this process.

As a subscriber to this paper, I find it especially unfortunate, and a little disconcerting, that Mr. Brower appears to desire more salacious and sensational reporting than simple, fact-based journalism. In this age of Alternate Facts, the one thing we don't need here in the Midcoast is another National Inquirer!

As Detective Sergeant Joe Friday used to say: Just the facts Ma'am!



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