GloucesterTimes.com, Gloucester, MA

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July 13, 2013

Worker claims 'abusive' regional school workplace

MANCHESTER — Students and staff members of the Manchester Essex Regional School District have a standard policy when it comes to allegations of bullying or harassment.

One employee, Maureen MacLeod, is now raising questions about how abuse and harassment grievances involving supervisors and other workers are handled — or not handled.

In a letter addressed to the regional School Committee, care of Superintendent Pamela Beaudoin, to the Manchester selectmen, care of Town Administrator Gregory Federspiel, and to the Times, among others, MacLeod says that she has been the victim of verbal abuse from the food service director, Sheila Parisien.

Although Parisien is not mentioned in the letter by name, MacLeod cites her title and writes that her allegations are nothing new; she states that grievances about verbal abuse and harassment have been ignored, according to the letter sent this week.

”The school district food director has, for years, been able to circumvent this policy,” writes MacLeod, a Manchester resident who has been employed with the district for 13 years and served as high school kitchen manager for the last seven. “Further, it disturbs me to reveal that during my 13 years of employment with the school district, this issue has been brought to the attention of two district superintendents.”

Citing the allegations as a personnel issue, school officials declined to comment on the letter Thursday and Friday. Linda Crosby, who chairs the regional School Committee, referred comments to Beaudoin.

Thursday, Beaudoin said she had not seen the letter herself as she was out of the office, but School Committee members said Thursday they had been made aware of the letter through Beaudoin.

“The district does not comment on personnel matters,” Beaudoin wrote in an email to the Times. “The district does have clearly established policies and protocols that are used to manage staff complaints.”

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