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The Barrington School District Board of Education accepted the resignation of Woodland School Principal Mort Argoe during a special action meeting Wednesday night in a split vote.
Five board members voted to accept the resignation Argoe submitted after the regular board meeting May 14 (“Principal Argoe resigns from Barrington School District, former mayor says“), while one member voted against accepting it. Two members were absent, and board president Andrew Wood abstained.
The resignation comes after an apparent bullying incident at Woodland School that Argoe was accused of mishandling, according to testimony given during the past two meetings. The overall quality of the investigations into the incident has been an issue of extensive debate from the public in both meetings.
“This is a whole lot bigger and a whole lot more involved than what was spread,” Toscano said. “No one parent did this.”
When he was asked later about Argoe’s record and how it was possible that there were so many incidents from someone who appeared to have no issues before this year, Toscano spoke of an “uptick of incidents” in the current school year.
But the primary theme of the public comment session was much the same as it was last week: the investigation that speakers insisted was “sloppy,” “broken” and “not done ethically or prudently.”
Former board member Larry Laskey noted the shadow of doubt that was over the board and its investigation because of board president Wood’s role in the probe and his apparent friendship with the complainant in the case. When he closed his comments by stating his intention to bring ethics charges against members of the board, many of the several dozen in attendance broke into applause.
Laskey’s reference to litigation echoed the board’s own mention of a potential lawsuit when they broke into an unscheduled executive session at the beginning of the meeting. Wood said the board needed to discuss information it had received from the public the night before and mentioned “litigation” before board members left the room for about 30 minutes.
When they returned, they made no mention of what took place in the closed session before beginning the public comment session.
— Voted to accept Argoe’s resignation: Vice President Michael Drumm, Carla Bolling, Robert Klopp, Barbara Quattrocchi, Jennifer Schuster
— Voted to not accept the resignation: Wayne Alexander
— Abstained: President Andrew Wood
— Not present: Scott Manlove, Susan McMichael