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. 

claire singleton February 15, 2012 at 11:12 AM
She owes everyone in town an apology, not just one board member. Her behavior was inappropriate and she should own up to it. I'm curious as to why the police would say that harassment isn't actionable, why then do we have laws against harassment if the offense isn't "actionable"? This isn't about one board member versus another this is about appropriate versus inappropriate behavior. There is no political benefit for the democratic party is Ms Kidd were to step down as she would be replaced by another Republican and board composition would remain the same. I think the only way for the town to move forward is if Ms Kidd steps down.
MSF February 15, 2012 at 11:21 AM
Your poll at the end of this article is an issue for me. In my opinion, this was no private, political debate. The comments were inappropriate and out of line, and perhaps an apology is in order. However in my opinion that is not a reason for Kidd to step down. I am confused about why the Democratic Chair is referring to this incident as cyber bullying when the police called it "Just more like a harrassment thing" with no actionable threat. We are all human. We all say stuff we later regret. Kidd even admitted she shouldn't have said those things. Let her learn this valuable lesson and move on. Stop overreacting. The BOE is facing far more important matters. Be there for us, please. We need you.
Frank February 15, 2012 at 11:26 AM
Ha Claire, maybe its the same reason we have trespassing laws but we still let people in homelessness live in the woods on both public and private property. Back to the issue at hand, it is true that elected officials are held to a higher standard of behavior than just regular citizens so even though the police may not want to pursue this issue doesn't mean we should accept this behavior from an elected official. Its like when a former chairperson of the board sent their children to private school and yet no one called them on it. That I don't understand, it was that chairpersons right to send their child to whatever school they want but as a community we should have said that it wasn't an appropriate behavior for an elected school official to do that. People should have said it in public discourse and at the voting booth. Back then we didn't have Patch though so thanks Dave. Anyways I personally think she should leave but that is just one voters opinion. What I do think is great is that people are having a real conversation about our local government and how that government is doing. Seems like Ms Kidd is committed to having the ultimate conversation on this issue to happen at the polls, I think that is a mistake but I guess at this point it is up to her, her party, the BOE, and the police. Maybe we will see in some November soon.
Jon Crickmore February 15, 2012 at 12:45 PM
Another finer example of the Manchester BOE. I can't believe this is even needs to be debated. If a child threatened another student on FB I'm sure that child would be expelled from school. Accountability is once again the issue at hand. We demand accountability from our children/ students yet seem to shy away from it when it comes to adults. This should also not be decide on her being a republican. I love how the stories always announce the party affiliation. Like that matters. I happen to be a republican and think this individual needs to GO based on her actions and nothing else.
Linda C February 15, 2012 at 01:04 PM
I am not sure why anyone would be surprised by Ms. Kidd's actions. She behaved exactly as she has since I began following town government- immature and unprofessional. I say, shame on the voters who el ected her to do this job.
Elizabeth Santangelo February 15, 2012 at 02:16 PM
Thank you Jon Crickmore for pointing out that we are expecting our children not to cyber bully. Especially after the suicide of a bullying victim. How on earth can an elected official, never mind BOE member possibly justify their bullying behavior?????? Ms. Kidd, please resign and be replaced by someone who can be a positive role model for our students.
Dave Morin February 15, 2012 at 05:24 PM
Sweet jesus.. sending repeated, bitter messages, all a minute apart, at 3am. My god, the word 'unstable' comes to mind.
jain February 15, 2012 at 05:25 PM
"'It's just unfortunate that they had to present a private conversation to the public just to get me to step down,' she said." Postings on Facebook are not a "private conversation", Ms. Kidd. This statement provides further evidence that you possess neither the intelligence, nor the common sense to remain in the position you hold on the BOE. Also, "I got upset and I wrote something and I shouldn't have wrote (sic) it,...". "I shouldn't have WROTE it"?! Pathetic. Resign.
Elaine February 16, 2012 at 12:22 AM
john February 16, 2012 at 01:09 AM
The "arrest number propaganda campaign" will continue to ''ENSURE" concerened parents that all is well. I DON'T BUY IT !!! My child tells me different accounts of the every day atmosphere at the school and I believe we are in a political BS STORM. You can expect me at the next BOE meeting expecting answers and accountability.
Jerry O'Connor February 16, 2012 at 02:11 AM
CAT FIGHT!!! Nice to see some reality show type entertainment back on public access TV. Mayor Diana has turned Tuesday night BOD meetings into efficient and productive public policy sessions, but they’re snore fests compared to the rough and tumble meetings from years ago. But it looks like a new “Monday Night at the Fights” might become a regular feature! But really. So Ms. Kidd likes to unwind after a tough meeting, have a couple adult beverages, and post snarky comments on Facebook in the early morning hours. Who doesn’t? Cyber bullying? Please….. Sticks and stones will break my bones, but pixels will never hurt me. Trust me, the way thing are going BOE members will soon be threatened with worse fates than being bulldozed! Manchester Police officials are saying all the right things publicly, but I’d like to be a fly on the wall of the station house and get their real “take” on the situation. BTW, lucky for the BOE in Manchester that there is no way to remove them from office once they’re elected. Otherwise many of them might have been gone long ago. Per her statement, there’s no doubt that, like other BOE members, Ms. Luxenberg is “putting the needs of the Board of Education first.” Now if only someone would put the needs of Manchester’s school kids first we might actually get somewhere.
June M. February 16, 2012 at 03:54 AM
The misunderstood communication should have begun with a face-to-face mature conversation.
Manchester Talk February 16, 2012 at 01:31 PM
@MSF, It has been said that Ms. Kidd has a history of late night emails and postings similar to those reported. At times they seem incoherent. Altered states have a tendency to exacerbate these actions in people.
resident February 16, 2012 at 01:37 PM
This doesn’t surprise me at all. The Kidd’s, like a lot of other town board members, are power trippers and get upset if you don’t suck up to them. How dare you not agree with what they say, they run this town. Another thing, srew means screw in drunk.
Manchester Talk February 16, 2012 at 01:38 PM
...more can be seen here: facebook.com/manchester.talk
Tim Begley February 16, 2012 at 02:30 PM
Very sad for Manchester and its students that these two elected officials don't seem to be doing their best work for us. Ms. Kidd has poor judgment, needs help, and must ask herself if she can serve us effectively after this drama, which embarrassed her and OUR town. Ms. Luxenberg should look at this as a learning experience - starting with not feeling the need to be so social with everyone she meets by friending them on Facebook and exchanging texts with people like Ms. Kidd (PS: this isn't student council - it's town government, and we don't have to be friends with everyone, but we do have to be capable of speaking openly, directly and constructively with others). I also don't want to see Ms. Luxenberg so busy with her phone during these meetings with texting, shopping online and Facebook stuff. Public officials are supposed to be conducting OUR business when they meet - not their own! Let's hope both of these officials take their position more seriously.
Manchester Mom February 16, 2012 at 03:28 PM
June --I don't think that would have been possible -- the line was already crossed. Take a look at the definition of bullying and harassment as set forth in the state laws. Ms. Kidd's actions were threatening. I would never advise my children (or even a peer) to try to have a "face to face" conversation with someone who threatened them --its a great way to encourage an already off-balance person to take further action. If someone has so little control over their emotions, there is no ability to have a "mature conversation."
Manchester Mom February 16, 2012 at 03:32 PM
I think this is unfair, Tim. You make too many assumptions -- Ms. Luxenberg should "not feel the need to be so social with everyone she meets by friending them on FB and exchanging texts with people like Ms. Kidd" ? You assume that 1) she actually DOES be social with "EVERYONE" (that's pretty difficult to do) she meets. 2) that this isn't a normal and expected way to communicate in this day and age, and Ms. Luxenberg was simply following protocol of the board. Heck -- huge corporations do "business" this way as it is now an acceptable way of communicating, not just a social outlet. and 3) how do you know Ms. Luxenberg is "so busy with her phone during these meetings with texting, shopping online, and FB stuff" ? have you seen this with your own eyes? I doubt very much that someone with Ms. Luxenberg's background would be that immature, and I doubt very much that board members and the community present during those board meetings would allow such a thing. I think your comments are off the mark and disrespectful.
Manchester Mom February 16, 2012 at 03:34 PM
Has anyone pulled the police reports on Ms. Kidd to see if what the community is saying about her is true (allegedly several people have had to file similar complaints against her)?
bob s February 16, 2012 at 04:03 PM
You have to consider that when you think of other members of elected boards and state positions that have come from Manchester...current and past...I just don't ever expect to hear this type of language or reaction...from people like Jack Thompson, Jay Moran, Barbara Weinberg, Rudy Kissman, Lou Spadacinni etc...all gentlemen and ladies...regardless of party. On the other hand.. . To our elected officials...it ls easy to do what is right when everyone is watching...it's alot harder to do what's right when you are all alone....hiding behind the excuse that this was a private conversation?...I have teenagers...nothing is private in the social media. I am now looking for our two major parties to act as one and in a spirit of reconciliation and bi partisan agreement...work on a reaction to this and plan to address what happened. I am looking for the people I elected to think independently. If I see more Dem vs Rep banter from the party leadership...I know we are in trouble...Mr. Pohl and Mr. Galligan...now is the time to back away and let the BOE do what they have been elected to do...work out a solution to this issue....and not worry so much about next years election...we have people in Washington wasting enough time on that. Everyone take a hint...thank goodness when I burn a pizza I don't have to consider what party I belong to before I say I'm sorry.
Frank February 16, 2012 at 05:23 PM
I have seen ms Luxenberg with her phone out at each meeting. You can see it on tv. I however think that it is great that our elected officials would have access to information during meetings. I'm pretty sure she isn't online shopping. I love that she uses technology like blogging and stuff to be a more informed board member. Keep it up.
Jon Crickmore February 16, 2012 at 09:20 PM
Its sad and disgusting to see the Manchester school system getting another black eye from there so called leaders. Imagine if residents really knew what was happening in there school system/Town. Little by little more is revealed about the shape our school system is actually in. On the brighter side more people are becoming aware of the day to day behavior by SOME of our elected officials. (both paid and UN paid officials) I hope more articles are written about the BOE and the so called leaders who represent Manchester residents. The day we start holding people accountable is the day things finally start to change for the better., POLITICS AS USUAL needs to end.
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


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