December 12, 2016
By LEAH DEARBORN
LYNNFIELD — Following the abrupt resignation Friday of Jennifer DiBiase, principal of the Summer Street Elementary School, Lynnfield School Superintendent Jane Tremblay and Director of Teaching and Learning Kevin Cyr will serve as acting principals until after the holidays.
The change in leadership at Summer Street comes on the heels of an incident on a METCO school bus last month which involved two young students. Sources told The Item that a 5-year-old kindergarten boy “inappropriately touched” a 10-year-old girl on the bus.
In addition to DiBiase’s departure, Lelo Masamba, METCO’s Lynnfield coordinator since 1999, and bus monitor Wanda Hill were terminated for failing to report the incident in a timely manner, sources said.
METCO provides minority students from Boston an opportunity to attend public schools in participating suburban school districts, with 40 in Lynnfield. The program has been in Lynnfield for more than 20 years.
Timothy Doyle, School Committee chairman, declined to comment on the incident.
“The School Committee focus is to get through the back half of the winter into the early spring without interruption into the health, safety and welfare of our students, which is always our primary objective,” he said.
Lynnfield Police Chief David Breen did not return calls seeking comment.
In an email, Breen said the department and the Essex County District Attorney reviewed the incident that occurred on Nov. 17. There will be no criminal charges as a result of that review, he wrote.
Tremblay has previously said federal and state confidentiality laws prohibit her from providing details about the incident.
“The incident has been addressed in accordance with school district policies,” she wrote in an email.
A regular school committee meeting is scheduled for tonight, but the incident is not on the agenda. The meeting allows for public comment on any matter.
Kara Mauro, director of special services, will serve as METCO director until June, Tremblay said.
“I needed a one-touch person who could be trusted to move forward as we have a lot of work to do,” said Tremblay. “Someone who could step in and keep the METCO program moving forward.”
In an email, Mauro said she attended a meeting at METCO in Boston with Tremblay on Monday morning to discuss the program’s future.
“We have plans to work with them to develop a job posting to fill the position for the 2017-2018 school year,” she said. “We are confident that the program will move forward in a positive direction.”
Hyacinth McLaren, METCO’s business manager who is serving as acting executive director, did not return a call seeking comment.
Anne Marie Tobin and Thomas Grillo contributed to this report.
Leah Dearborn can be reached at email@example.com.