Haverhill Teachers Take Issue with School Committee Member’s Characterization of Conditions

School Committee member Scott W. Wood Jr. (Jay Saulnier file photograph for WHAV News.)

Harsh words were exchanged at last night’s School Committee meeting after two teachers complained comments made last week suggested staff were lying about unsatisfactory building conditions.

Committee member Scott W. Wood Jr. said he toured the high school personally and his perception of the school’s readiness to conduct classes safely was completely opposite of a report by the teacher’s union. Barry Davis was one of those teachers.

“Mr. Wood, you claimed that our members were not being honest in our letter identifying issues that we encountered. You said what you saw was fine and anyone who says otherwise was not in the building or is lying,” Davis said.

The teachers asked Wood to recant his statement, but Wood refused, He said his words are being taken out of context by the Haverhill Education Association.

“I don’t intend to retract my comments. I never said the word ‘teachers.’ I understand the campaign of misinformation from the union. If you want to spread misinformation, say I said ‘teachers,’ that sure as hell didn’t happen. So the only person that I’m calling a liar, right now, to their face, is you,” he said.

Teacher’s union President Anthony J. Parolisi also got into the war of words, saying Wood continuing to call teachers liars is inappropriate.

Committee member Toni Sapienza-Donais called for calm. “At this point, I really feel that we all need to be working together, not nit-picking at each other, because this is a problem that, it’s a city problem. It’s a school problem. It’s our students. I don’t want to see a child sick. I don’t want to see a staff member sick. We are here to work together and make those schools safe,” she said.

Mayor James J. Fiorentini said he knows that the teachers are under a great deal of stress and he appreciates the work they are doing and hopes we can move on from here.

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