Superintendent who quit after girl’s suicide seeks job in another district
MANSFIELD — Parents are upset that one of the candidates for superintendent in their school district is the same schools chief who is being sued in another district over the handling of a bullying case that ended in the suicide of an 11-year-old girl.
Greg McGann, who is stepping down from the Rockaway school district, is one of the finalists for the job in this Warren County district.
A recent invitation-only question-and-answer session with the candidates included McGann, much to the surprise of many parents, including Meloney Garrett.
"This kind of shocked us. Parents are livid that our board would even entertain the thought of having this man (as superintendent)," Garrett said.
McGann is a defendant in a lawsuit filed against the Rockaway school district by the parents of Mallory Grossman, a cheerleader who was bullied on social media for months during the 2016-17 school year. The Grossmans accused the district of not taking action to stop the bullying.
"We literally went up the line, starting with guidance counselors, and it fell on deaf ears," Diane Grossman said at a news conference last August when she and husband Seth announced their intent to sue. She said she was told by the principal the district would "investigate the matter and follow procedure," but the bullying continued.
Mallory took her own life last June, just before the start of summer vacation. The Morris County Prosecutor's Office said her death remains under investigation.
McGann came under criticism but said he could not discuss specifics of the case citing privacy of the students.
A statement signed last August by "Rockaway Township Board of Education Members and Rockaway Township District Administration" said that "the allegation that the Rockaway Township School District ignored the Grossman family and failed to address bullying in general, is categorically false" and said the public had only heard one side of the story.
Diane Grossman focused her grief on creating "Mallory's Army," which is dedicated to fighting cyber bullying in schools. Garrett is a cheerleader coach and her squad wore "Mallory's Army" shirts and bracelets last season. Garrett said she and her squad would be wearing the shirts at Thursday's Board of Education meeting.
Garrett is trying to get a big turnout to Thursday's Board of Education meeting to address their concern about McGann. The meeting agenda states that a vote will be taken to "approve the recommendation to continue the search for the open superintendent position as recommended by the hiring committee."
"Our whole season was based on anti-bullying," Garrett said. She said the kids, especially the older ones, understand bullying and what Mallory's parents said happened to her.
"We sat them down and told them what happened to Mallory. We feel very close to the situation so we reached out to her mom and we asked if we could dedicate a T-shirt we made to cheerleading camp with 'Mallory's Army' on it," Garrett said.
McGann announced earlier he would resign from the Rockaway district effective July 1, the day after his contract expires. He has been on a leave of absence since May 1, according to a statement on the Rockaway district website.
There is no special section on the Mansfield district website about their search for a new superintendent. A call to the Board of Education seeking a list of the names of the candidates was referred to district Business Administrator Paul DeAngelo, who did not returned a request for comment.
School district attorney Nathya Simon declined to comment on the search because she is not involved. She referred questions to Board of Education president Karri Reyes, who did not returned a request for comment.
A woman who answered the phone at the Warren County Department of Education, which reviews and approves all employment contracts for top district administrators within the county, said the office is not involved in the search.
Mansfield school superintendent Ed Kemp announced his retirement at the school board meeting of March 22. His retirement takes effect Sept. 1. Mansfield Elementary School is the only school in the district.