There was a major cover-up at the high school last week.
That cover up was actually the covering up of the ‘Frederick F. Foresteire Center for the Performing Arts’ banner on both sides of the Everett High School electronic sign on Elm Street.
The matter was first noticed early Thursday morning, and quickly became a mystery for the School Committee and the School Department. Former Supt. Fred Foresteire has long had the auditorium at the high school named after him, and with criminal charges pending against him in court for alleged sexual misconduct, many had wondered what would happen with his name appearing on the placard at EHS.
Many have postulated as to what would happen – if it would be removed, or if it would be preserved. With that conversation still raging, many were shocked to see that it had unceremoniously and quietly been covered up with a white piece of vinyl on both sides.
Chair Tom Abruzzese said it became an incredible mystery that he resolved to solve at last Thursday’s School Committee meeting. However, he left knowing little more than when he arrived.
“I decided to personally investigate what happened after someone sent me a picture of the sign before our meeting last Thursday,” he said. “The name had been vinyled over, sure enough. No one from the School Department had any knowledge of it – not the interim superintendent, the assistant superintendent, not the principal of the high school or the vice principal of the high school. No one knew who did it. We didn’t authorize it at the School Committee, so it was a mystery…After calling a couple of people and no one knowing anything about it at the meeting, it became harder and harder to believe.”
After some discussion, and still having no answers, School Committeeman Marcony Almeida Barros suggested it must have been vandalism. So, the Committee decided to report the matter to Everett Police the next day.
However, Abruzzese said about an hour after the meeting, Mayor Carlo DeMaria called him to say he had ordered that it be covered up, citing that some women’s groups had been offended and complained.
This week, Mayor DeMaria confirmed he did cover up the name on the sign, and felt it was appropriate.
“Mr. Foresteire is no longer the Superintendent of the Everett Public Schools. Under my direction, the Department of Public Works removed his name to reflect that change,” said Mayor DeMaria on Tuesday.
Abruzzese said he was also informed that the sign was put up without the proper permits, and the administration wished to get it properly permitted and moved to a better location as well.
Abruzzese said the School Committee developed a policy some time ago about Foresteire’s name on school facilities.
“Our take on it as a School Committee was we were going to let the legal system play out before anything is done,” he said. “That was agreed to some time ago by the Committee.”
He said it was an interesting ending to a very charged mystery.
“That’s what’s crazy about the situation even when I said no one knew anything about it, it was hard for anyone to believe,” he said. “It is the truth though. We didn’t know.”