.

Kidd Says There's 'No Way' She Will Resign from School Board [POLL]

Despite the controversy, Republican Merrill Kidd says she intends to keep her seat on the Board of Education.

Embattled Board of Education member , who has found herself at the center of controversy after allegations surfaced that she sent harassing and threatening Facebook messages to another school board member, said Tuesday that she has no intention of resigning, nor does she believe she owes the other board member an apology for her comments. 

"I'm just going to let it run its course and concentrate on going to my committee meetings and doing my job," Kidd, a Republican, told Manchester Patch Tuesday. "There's no way that I'm stepping down." 

Democratic members of the Board of Education tried to force Kidd's resignation at Monday's school board meeting after complaints from Kelly Luxenberg, a Democratic member of the school board, that . 

The series of messages, which Luxenberg provided to Manchester Patch Monday, appear to have occurred after 2:30 a.m. and were sent privately to Luxenberg's Facebook account. They appear to be an uninterrupted series of messages from Kidd to Luxenberg sent in the middle of the night in which Kidd, among other things, accuses Luxenberg of patronizing her during a meeting, says that she will "bulldoze" Luxenberg, and warns Luxenberg not to "srew with me." (The spelling errors are Kidd's.) 

Luxenberg says that she was so "unnerved" by finding the messages the next morning that she consulted other members of the Board of Education and attorneys, including the school board's private counsel, who advised her to take the matter to the Manchester Police Department. 

Manchester Police Cpt. Chris Davis confirmed Tuesday that Luxenberg did speak with police about the incident. Davis said an officer "looked into" Luxenberg's complaint, spoke to Kidd, and warned her to have no further contact with Luxenberg outside of official school board business. Davis said no charges were filed against Kidd. 

"Basically, there was no actionable threat. Just more like a harassment thing," Davis said. "As long as she doesn't try and make any contact privately, then it shouldn't be an issue." 

Kidd said that Luxenberg misconstrued her use of the word bulldoze as a "metaphor," that she was merely having a political disagreement with Luxenberg, and noted that no charges were filed against her for her actions. 

"Obviously the police don't feel that I was a threat," Kidd said. 

Kidd said she feels that Luxenberg, who is married to State Rep. Geoff Luxenberg, a Democrat who represents Manchester in the General Assembly, and other Democrats in town are blowing the incident out of proportion in an attempt to try and force her resignation. 

"It's just unfortunate that they had to present a private conversation to the public just to get me to step down," she said. 

But Luxenberg said that politics had nothing to do with her decision to seek legal counsel and take the matter to police. 

"In politics they say that if you don't like the heat get out of the kitchen, but I don't think that what happened this week was heat," Luxenberg said. "As board members I think we need to hold ourselves to higher standards than we would hold our students to, our parents to, or our faculty members to." 

When asked, Luxenberg said the decision to step down belonged to Kidd and that she was "moving forward and putting the needs of the Board of Education first."

Manchester's Town Charter does not contain any criteria for removing elected officials for improper conduct such as inappropriate behavior or a criminal offense, so although Democrats control a 6-3 majority on the school board there is nothing they can do to remove Kidd if she does not chose to resign.  

"I don't even know if somebody was on the Board of Education or Board of Directors and committed a felony that that would require them to step down," said administrative staff attorney and assistant town attorney Tim O'Neil. He said the only way to change that portion of the charter would be through a voter referendum. 

But not everyone agrees that Kidd's comments were innocuous or harmless. 

Democratic Town Committee Chairman Michael Pohl said that Kidd's comments were beyond inappropriate, especially for someone who is charged with overseeing the town's public schools and education of its children, and that she could no longer credibly remain on the school board. 

"It's not something we would permit our kids to do, and as somebody who should be a shining example as a member of the Board of Education, cyberbullying should not be permitted," Pohl said. "There's a time and a place for everything, and it's not the time and place for her to continue on the Board of Education when she's done what she's done." 

Under minority representation rules, should Kidd resign from the Board of Education Republicans would be able to appoint her replacement from a member of their party. 

But Republican Town Committee Chairman Matt Galligan said Tuesday that Democrats were blowing Kidd's comments out of proportion and that the decision to step aside rested with her. 

"She is an elected official who was voted on by the residents of Manchester," Galligan said. "I'm not going to put my judgement ahead of the will of the people. They obviously saw something in Merrill that they liked." 

Galligan said he believed Kidd could remain on the Board of Education and work productively with its other members. 

"I think certainly there can be a working relationship between the board members if they put all this overreaction aside," he told Patch. "Merrill is absolutely eager to get back to the work at hand and she looks forward to the next Board of Education meeting." 

Board of Education Chairman Chris Pattacini, a Democrat, said that he planned to meet with Kidd and discuss the issue. 

"I don't know after that what additional steps will need to be taken to resolve it," Pattacini said. "Once I speak with Ms. Kidd, then we can determine next steps for where to go." 

Kidd has four children. When asked how she would respond if one of her children faced or was the vicim of similar accusations, Kidd said that she has had to deal with similar issues with her children in the past and that she tells them it is best to no longer follow the person on social media and to no longer have any contact with them. She says she plans to do the same with Luxenberg. 

"I got upset and I wrote something and I shouldn't have wrote it," Kidd said. "I guess it's a lesson learned that we should all sit back and think before we act." 

But Kidd said she feels she does not owe Luxenberg an apology, and that if Luxenberg were really bothered by her comments she could have called her personally to discuss them instead of going to the police. 

"It's a way of forcing me out, I guess," Kidd said, adding that from now on "I'm just staying quiet." 

Correction: An earlier version of this story incorrectly stated that Kelly Luxenberg also consulted with the Town Attorney before going to the police. 

Concerned Mom February 16, 2012 at 09:38 PM
Both gals seem to have an agenda. Mr Patticini needs to stop the texting or whatever they are doing on their phones ,private conversation and pay attention. Ms Kidd should not drink while facebooking and Ms Luxemborg needs to chill. MS Kidd has a reputation around town for trying to bully others. She needs to take a chapter out of her own book when she demanded Mr Rowe leave quietly and go herself.. .
Concerned Mom February 16, 2012 at 09:42 PM
Whats the deal at Illing?? Someone on one of the Patch posts indicated that a teacher was aassaulted?? Hopefully that child has been removed from the school. If I were that teacher I would press charges against the student.Teachers need to do their jobs without fear they will behurt. I an only imagine how a student feels if he sees his or her teacher being hurt. As a 12 and 3 yr old I would not not feel safe in my school and they along with the teachers should feel safe in school. That is not a privilage it is their right
Manchester Mom February 16, 2012 at 09:51 PM
I also am a concerned mom, but not knowing anything about either of these women, I just cannot see how anyone could accuse Mrs. Luxenberg of having an "agenda" -- I can't imagine checking my facebook (or phone, or mail, etc) and finding that someone was up in the wee hours of the middle of the night sending belligerent messages to me, and threatening and cursing. That would freak me out, to say the least. And, given that Mrs. Kidd has had a reputation of bullying and scaring other people in town to the point of reporting her to the police, I think anyone with a brain would find out what can be done about it to send the message that -- you've crossed the line, you've scared me, you're interfering with my ability to do my elected job, and don't do it again. In this world, when people "lose it" and their coworkers/friends/neighbors say they 'wish they had paid attention to the warning signs" I think it is important to protect oneself.
Jon Crickmore February 16, 2012 at 10:47 PM
Why don't fellow board members look past the (D) (R) or (I) in front of there name and do whats best for the citizens / students and speak out using their morals, integrity, and conscience. Great example of whats wrong with this world. People do what they think is best for their friends or party affiliation instead of whats right for the people. How do many of you elected officials sleep at night ?? Its not for me to judge. There is a much greater power that will sign your final judgement.
Jon Crickmore February 16, 2012 at 10:58 PM
Hartford Courant " After consulting with board leaders and school board and town attorneys, Luxenberg said she took her complaint to the police. Police spokesman Capt. Chris Davis said Luxenberg's harassment complaint was investigated, and an officer told Kidd not to have any contact with Luxenberg other than in the public arena" I guess there are no consequences for this type of behavior LOL

Boards

More »
Got a question? Something on your mind? Talk to your community, directly.
Note Article
Just a short thought to get the word out quickly about anything in your neighborhood.
Share something with your neighbors.What's on your mind?What's on your mind?Make an announcement, speak your mind, or sell somethingPost something
See more »