For the past three months we have witnessed the virtual lynching of Mashpee school superintendent Brian Hyde over his visit to the home of the King family. He has been charged with a misdemeanor and will face a jury trial next week in Falmouth District Court.
Some local media outlets have Mr. Hyde already convicted, are gleefully building the gibbet and would no doubt live-stream the hanging. Problem is, the court hasn’t convened, no testimony has been given and no jury has voted.
Moreover, a report commissioned by the Mashpee School Committee has left many people questioning the motive and actions of the alleged victims.
In the face of incredible pressure from the public and from a certain daily newspaper, the Mashpee School Committee has thus far acted conservatively. They did not place Mr. Hyde on paid administrative leave until the day he was arraigned and they honored his contract with a recent bonus the superintendent earned by meeting academic goals for the district’s children.
Town leaders are pushing the school committee to “act” in relation to Mr. Hyde’s employment. A school committee session has been scheduled prior to his trial date. We hope the school committee stays the course and doesn’t try to alter or terminate Mr. Hyde’s contract until his court case is resolved. If Mr. Hyde is acquitted, the school committee must either honor his contract or buy him out. There will be no “cause” to terminate him if he’s found innocent, so if they buy him out before the trial they may waste hundreds of thousands of taxpayer dollars. If they fire Mr. Hyde before his trial, they will likely face a six-figure lawsuit if he is acquitted.
We respect the course the school committee has followed thus far and urge they continue on that course.
For those in the lynching party, sit in the corner with your dunce cap until the trial is over.
Lifetime of Service
Brian Hyde has devoted most of his adult life to the children of Mashpee. He came to the superintendent’s chair in an unusual way, to be sure. Not often do we see a classroom teacher promoted to superintendent. However, the school committee knew their candidate because of his long service in their schools. They knew his talents and they knew his personality.
Mr. Hyde’s short time leading the school district has been fruitful. Test scores have improved, the administration has been reorganized and a successful team built around educators already in the Mashpee or from nearby districts. Compare this to the academic and financial train wreck of the Monomoy schools, where an off-Cape superintendent purged the schools’ leadership while test scores plummeted and costs continue to run out of control. By nearly every objective metric, Brian Hyde has succeeded in leading Mashpee’s schools.
Many of the people howling for the superintendent’s head cite stories of his interactions with other parents and students. Those stories are hearsay until the parents and students put their hand on the Bible, swear the oath and share their accounts under penalty of perjury.
After a lifetime of service to Mashpee’s children, Brian Hyde deserves his day in court. If he is found innocent, he should return unmolested to his contractual position.
Should Hyde have visited the King home that fateful day? Absolutely not.
To do so was a “rookie mistake” worthy of a first-year assistant principal. However, the school committee hired a superintendent that did not possess years of experience as an administrator. Absent those years of seasoning, Mr. Hyde apparently let the King’s get under his skin and reacted rashly. That is not to say we believe everything Ms. King and her companions reported about the visit. We will leave that to see how well they stand up under cross-examination.
We urge the Mashpee School Committee to continue their conservative course of action. To dismiss Brian Hyde before his day in court would be an injustice to the man, to the school children he has served so faithfully and to the taxpayers of Mashpee.
Brian Hyde is innocent until proven guilty.