Nashua school officials speak out about lawsuit against superintendentBy KIMBERLY HOUGHTON
Union Leader Correspondent
June 20. 2018 10:21PM
NASHUA — School officials are speaking out about the $1.5 million lawsuit brought against Superintendent Jahmal Mosley by a former Board of Education president, with one official saying she is shocked by what led to the litigation.
“This did not need to happen at all. It was ridiculous. The whole thing was just blown out of proportion,” said Elizabeth Van Twuyver, member of the Nashua Board of Education.
Van Twuyver said Mosley took matters too far when he had a no-trespass order issued that prevents George Farrington, a former board member, from entering the school administrative offices at 141 Ledge St. for one year.
Van Twuyver says she is very disappointed that the situation escalated to this point.
On March 29, Mosley contacted police stating that Farrington was at his office and “being disorderly,” at which time Mosley hung up the phone, according to a police report filed by officer Jaime Abrams of the Nashua Police Department.
Farrington was at the office to pick up requested documents, at which time he received permission from a receptionist to visit a friend in the back office who was retiring.
“George began to walk back to the office when he was stopped by Dr. Mosley. George stated Dr. Mosley became very upset and demanded he leave,” says the report, adding Farrington insisted that it was a public building and refused to leave.
Four police officers responded to the incident. Mosley told police that when Farrington left the lobby area and entered the superintendent’s suite, that it was “creating an unsafe working environment for the employees within the building,” the police report says.
Now, three months after Mosley had the no-trespass order issued preventing Farrington from entering the district’s administration offices, Farrington is suing Mosley for $1.5 million for alleged civil rights violations.
Farrington’s lawsuit maintains Mosley’s actions amounted to First Amendment retaliation and abuse of process while denying him due process. The lawsuit names as defendants the city, Mosley and Abrams.
“It is probably best we don’t comment on it since it is litigation against the city, but I will say it is a sad day when any person who committed as much effort to public service as Mr. Farrington feels as if they have to go through recourse like this. To me, that is sad,” said Howard Coffman, board member.
While Coffman acknowledged that he may not have agreed with Farrington on certain issues while he was on the board, Coffman says he does respect Farrington’s commitment to public service. Farrington did not win reelection to his seat in the November election.
Raymond Guarino, board member, said he did not feel comfortable commenting on the lawsuit filed in U.S. District Court in Concord.
“Maybe at some point in time the board will comment,” he said on Wednesday, referring all questions to Dotty Oden, board president.
“It is just an unfortunate situation for all involved and I really cannot say anymore because there is legal action that has taken place,” Oden said.
“I am hoping that it gets resolved quickly,” said Doris Hohensee, board member.
Hohensee said the board was originally notified about the situation earlier this year, but has not received any update on the confrontation between Mosley and Farrington in several months.
A non-public session had originally been planned to discuss the matter in April, but Steve Bolton, the city’s legal counsel, abruptly walked out of the Board of Education meeting before the non-public session.
Afterward, Bolton said he believed that further discourse would have been unproductive.
Some teachers have opted to voice their opinions on social media.
“As a teacher in the district, I’m appalled,” Lynda Walsh posted on Facebook. “We can’t get the money necessary to fund education properly in Nashua, but a lawsuit that could cost the city $1.5 million makes sense to the former BOE president? He, better than any, should know there isn’t enough money for the important things, let alone a frivolous, petty lawsuit over a damaged ego. Shame.”