Swampscott principal out on leave

Swampscott elementary school principal Shannon Daniels.
Swampscott elementary school principal Shannon Daniels. (Jim Wilson)

SWAMPSCOTT — The principal of Stanley Elementary School is on a temporary leave of absence following the announcement earlier this month that they’re transgender.

Principal Shannon Daniels, 52, formerly Tom Daniels, announced three weeks ago that they’re transgender and would be presenting as female going forward.

Daniels, a Swampscott resident, who became the school’s principal in 2012, identifies as both male and female and prefers “they/them” pronouns for a gender-fluid identity, but plans to become fully transitioned to female.

“Principal Daniels is on a temporary leave of absence,” wrote Superintendent Pamela Angelakis and Swampscott Police Chief Ronald Madigan in a correspondence to Stanley families. The email was shared with The Item by a Swampscott resident who wishes to remain anonymous. There is also a police presence at the school this week.

The correspondence reads that the school district’s director of curriculum and instruction Anne Marie Condike was at the Stanley School on Monday and Angelakis will be at the school Tuesday.

According to the superintendent’s office, Daniels was not at school on Monday and will not be at Stanley Tuesday. The principal will be in on Wednesday to meet with Angelakis. The circumstances regarding the leave or its length was not clarified, but the superintendent’s office stated the leave was not a suspension and Daniels is off for a couple of days.

Daniels said they couldn’t comment.

“You will also see a police presence,” Angelakis and Madigan wrote in the correspondence. “While no credible threats have been received, we see this response as an abundance of caution for our school community. We look forward to getting back to normal.”

Angelakis could not be reached for further comment.

Madigan said there have been phone calls, voicemails and emails at the school since the principal’s earlier announcement, but there was nothing that police felt rose to the level of constituting a threat.

“We never received any information about any threats,” Madigan said. “It’s taken on a bigger level of fear in terms of what communications have been received to date. There were phone calls and voicemails received following some media attention or media reports regarding the principal at the schools and we’ve reviewed all those calls.”

Madigan said there were some concerns for safety among the Stanley School community and police thought it would be best to have some police presence at the school on Monday and Tuesday. He said police were also at the school the week before February vacation — students were off school last week.

“Really it was solely for the reason that people were feeling fearful and a lot of that was in the context of the Florida school shooting,” Madigan said. “It just raises people’s concerns for school safety. I want to reassure everyone that there’s no threats. There was nothing that rose to the level of constituting a threat.”

Madigan said he plans to meet with Angelakis Tuesday.

“What we’re doing is out of an abundance of caution and to really be there to (assure) people that it’s a safe environment and put people at ease and restore the sense of normalcy,” Madigan said. “The reality is there’s a sense of feeling unsafe among the school community based on the level of attention focused on Stanley.

“Our goal is to get beyond this and restore the sense of safety and security at the schools,” he said.

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