Some People Never Learn
PAYING ATTENTION WITH TOM DUGGAN
By: Tom Duggan – July, 2004
Former North Andover School Committeeman Diane Huster still doesn’t get it. After being thrown off the School Committee two years ago by the voters, Huster continues to engage in the very same personal attacks and viscous political tactics that resulted in her defeat to Dr. Charles Ormsby.
Last week, Diane Huster stood up at a School Committee meeting (of all places) and verbally attacked Dr. Ormsby, demanding that he “repudiate” a column published in the Valley Patriot. The column was written by someone other than Ormsby (who is part owner of the paper). She then demanded that the entire school committee do the same.
Can you imagine?
Huster’s delusions of self importance are so distorted that she took time away from the business of educating children at a school committee meeting to air her personal grievance against a newspaper columnist. Even more bizarre was her assertion that Ormsby, by virtue of being part owner of the Valley Patriot, was obligated to put aside the important educational issues before the board and comment on something that he had nothing to do with.
Did Huster really expect Dr. Ormsby, the school committee, and the entire town to put aside the school committee business to address her petty and personal grievance against a newspaper columnist? The sad fact is, she did. And she did so at a meeting with a heavy agenda about standards in the schools, something Huster repeatedly opposed (MCAS for example) during in her 18 years on the board.
And when yours truly (the actual author of the column she was whining about) offered her an opportunity to write a letter to the editor, she refused. Instead, Huster wrote a letter to the editor (published in the North Andover Citizen) with the very same whine and demand that Dr. Ormsby and the entire board “repudiate” what was written about her in another newspaper.
In her letter, Huster writes “It is with sadness, then, that I bring to your attention my deep disappointment that a new member of the School Committee has maligned my reputation and, more importantly, the integrity of the School Committee by participating in the publication of a newspaper that suggests the recent evaluation of the North Andover High School by the New England Association of Schools and Colleges was influenced by politics and that somehow I colluded with a member of our school system’s administrative staff to bring dishonor to our high school.” (full text of letter)
The fact is, Dr. Ormsby didn’t write the item published in “Tom Duggan’s Notebook.” The paragraph Huster is referring to in her eight-paragraph letter to the citizen states as follows:
Susan Nicholson wrote a report to the New England Association of Schools and Colleges that resulted in the High School being put on warning of losing accreditation. If the report was accurate and written with the best interest of the town and the school in mind, I would welcome such revelations. But, Nicholson’s report was, at best grossly misleading and at worst, a designed report to aid her friend Diane Huster, who is seeking to use this issue to run again for School Committee next year. Superintendent Harry Harutunian has been here long enough to see how the cancer of politics has infected education in North Andover. He needs to send a clear message to the employees of the North Andover School System that hurting the kids for political gain will not be tolerated!
Huster’s public assertion that Ormsby “has maligned my reputation and, more importantly, the integrity of the School Committee by participating in the publication of a newspaper…” is just an extension of the bait and switch personal attacks that got her thrown off the committee in the first place. Does Huster really believe that the editors of the Eagle tribune or the Boston Globe agree with or are responsible for every opinion column they publish? Does she believe that the editors of those newspapers have an obligation to comment on or “repudiate” everything in their publication?
Has Ms. Huster ever read the first amendment?
As the president of the Valley Patriot, I alone am responsible for writing, editing and publishing the column Huster objects to. She had (and still has) an opportunity to write a letter to the editor or take the matter up with me directly. But that’s not her style. She would rather pretend she was attacked (when she clearly wasn’t) to invoke sympathy from her like minded friends in the TUFF group to justify her bad behavior.
For Huster to pretend that column on Susan Nicholson states that SHE colluded with Nicholson when it clearly states that “at worst” Nicholson was trying to help her friend, is just another reminder of why the voters rejected her in 2003. Perhaps her eight-paragraph response to a one paragraph column is the result of a guilty conscience.
Me thinks thou doth protest too much!