Boston Superintendent: ‘Mistake’ To Not Discipline Headmaster Accused Of Assault

BOSTON — The head of the Boston School Department says she made a mistake in not disciplining a headmaster arrested for domestic assault last year.

Superintendent Carol Johnson says she should have placed Rodney Peterson, a headmaster at the John D. O’Bryant School of Mathematics & Science in Roxbury, on administrative leave after he was charged with choking his wife last June.

“I made a mistake,” Johnson said in an interview with Deborah Becker on Morning Edition Tuesday. “I wish I had done things differently. In retrospect, I wish I had placed [Peterson] on leave immediately until it is resolved and then determined his continued employment.”

Peterson later pleaded guilty to sufficient facts and was sentenced to a year of probation. He has since left the Boston school system.

Johnson also said Tuesday she should not have written a letter to a judge on Peterson’s behalf.

She said she wants to have a new policy in place by the end of the week for dealing with employees charged with violent acts.

On Monday, Boston Mayor Thomas Menino said he’s ordered all supervisors to immediately suspend employees accused of domestic violence.

“[Peterson] was a great educator. But on the other side, on the domestic violence problem, that’s a bigger problem for me,” Menino told WBUR’s Lynn Jolicoeur. “And I think we have to deal with that as effectively as we can in the future. And I’ve told that to the superintendent.”

But Menino said Johnson’s failure to act doesn’t send a bad message to students.

“One instance? One instance too many, but I don’t think it sends a message to anyone,” he said. “And I just think the superintendent has said that she wishes she could do it again.”

Click the player above for the full Morning Edition interview with Johnson.

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  • Tax paying parent

    Sorry no do overs it’s not a golf game. Not the first instance either do a lil fact checking and you’ll see more . We have forced good principals out of their school and community to accommodate these HSOE and Broad Institute principals that only care about the data that is tied to the funding of our public schools . We in Boston spend 17 k per student of our tax dollars to see lack of technology, lack of libraries or text books . But we have room for another panel more administrators and even a new School Headquarters . If our politicians stopped listening to the corporate reformers and listened to the parents and taxpayers we would have the great schools this City deserves. Mr. Menino you have failed in your leadership of our schools .

    • Guest

      Cronyism, Unprofessionalism, Misuse of taxpayers money, Neglectful Retention, Unethical, Unsafe school Environment, Sets a new bar for unethical behavior of Headmasters in Boston, etc.  
      What about female teachers that Peterson observed and or evaluated, given he has issues with women and anger management.  I know teachers are the Restaveks of US society but how about considering them.  Did any have a messy desk that prompted him to punch the white board and throttle them? I agree no do overs.  To those who are given so much, a lot is expected.  Let this “new policy” be her legacy.  Good bye.  All her underperforming headmasters need to reapply for their jobs, clean the house she built.   As for the Mayor…once again, disappointing.

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