The Bozeman Chronicle reported Wednesday, Dec. 28, 2011 on the results of a Montana School Board Association investigation of Manhattan elementary school teacher Adam Priquette that reveals a “pattern of physical and emotional abuse.” If the allegations are true, which include using physically painful pressure points such as a “V-notch” and a “Vulcan Grip” for punishment, and using insulting words with a student about her physical difference, then parents and members of our community should be outraged with the lenient and irresponsible consequences that Mr. Priquette ultimately received.

The report also stated that Mr. Priquette was “not credible” in many of his answers during the investigation. This investigative report was made public only after the Belgrade News sued the district to release the report.

Following the results of this investigation, it appears that the Manhattan School Board negotiated a deal with Mr. Priquette, allowing him to remain on the payroll until June 1, 2012 and to receive a severance payment in return for his agreement that he not take legal action against the school district. To make it even more unethical and irresponsible, this deal would allow him to have a “letter of recommendation” from Superintendent Jim Notaro and that the district seal his personnel file so that he is able to continue to work as a teacher in another school district without anyone knowing of his history with students.

Is this what we want for our children? If parents and community members don’t make a public outcry against this action, or further challenge the Manhattan School Board’s decision, then we are not fulfilling our responsibility to protect our children and the children of our country.

Ann DiBerardinis



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