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A very nasty disagreement has developed between School Committeeman Chris Cotter and Superintendent Dr. Pia Durkin.  The public dispute has spilled onto the pages of Facebook where nothing at all will be resolved.

Cotter, a New Bedford Police Detective says Durkin called his integrity into question by suggesting he may have used his police job to obtain confidential information about a student assault on a teacher at Keith Middle School.  Cotter says multiple sources within the community provided him with the information and that he did nothing wrong. Cotter is concerned that Durkin's ascertain could result in a black mark on his police record and says Durkin has been unwilling to speak with him about the matter.

As a parent who put two sons through the New Bedford Public School System I have no problem finding Cotter's version to be believable, but under aged students and teachers who are victimized have privacy rights and any information that is released to the public about such incidents should reflect those rights. Dr. Durkin has an obligation however to the public and certainly the elected School Committee to be more forthcoming about what is happening in our schools.

Doctor Durkin should sit sown immediately with Detective Cotter to clear the air and with the school committee as a whole to find common ground on a policy that would allow for public disclosure of school incidents while still protecting the rights of those involved. Detective Cotter on the other hand must refrain from future outbursts on Facebook that are childish  and serve no other purpose than to relieve his frustration.

Both sides say they seek to serve the best interests of the students.  Unnecessary public feuds such as this one are no way to set a proper example.

Barry J Richard