Schools

Danvers superintendent goes on medical leave amid multiple school controversies

Danvers schools have been dealing with multiple incidents of racist, homophobic, and antisemitic speech, graffiti, and misconduct.

Matthew J Lee/Globe staff
Lisa Dana has been superintendent of Danvers public schools for 17 years. Matthew J Lee/Globe staff

Danvers school officials announced Tuesday that Superintendent Lisa Dana will be taking medical leave for an undetermined amount of time, amid multiple controversial incidents of hate speech, misconduct, and graffiti in Danvers Public Schools.

“The district supports Dr. Dana and wishes her the best during the period of her leave,” school officials said in a statement to the community, according to the Boston Globe.

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The town’s school committee will be meeting Thursday, and plans to discuss “temporary changes to the Administrative Team” according to its agenda.

Dana has been under fire since a Globe report in November about alleged violent racist, homophobic, and antisemitic misconduct from members of the 2019-20 high school boys’ hockey team.

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According to the paper, Dana and other Danvers officials concealed information about the incident for 16 months, citing student and staff privacy laws.

The incident wasn’t revealed until a student came forward.

According to WCVB, a Danvers High hockey player talked about “violent, degrading, racist and homophobic hazing rituals” in the locker room.

These included “Gay Tuesday,” when the lights were turned off in the locker room and everyone had to take off their clothes, and “Hard-R Fridays” where players who refused to say the n-word with a hard “R” were physically beaten, sometimes with a red sex toy.

Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey’s office is reportedly investigating the hockey team allegations.

Over the last two months, there have been other incidents of hate speech in town.

Officials found swastikas in bathrooms at the high school and middle school, on three separate occasions.

After a fight between a student and a member of the wrestling team over the latter’s use of racial language, school officials found a team social media account with hateful and biased language. This led to a suspension of the entire wrestling team.

More recently, a little over a week ago, a resident reported homophobic graffiti at the softball field on Pickering Street.

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