Perrin fired as principal of BUHS

With no public discussion, WSESD board votes unanimously to oust the administrator, on paid leave for months

BRATTLEBORO — Brattleboro Union High School (BUHS) Principal Steve Perrin has been fired.

Windham Southeast School District Board Chair Kelly Young called for a vote in open session following approximately half an hour of executive session on Tuesday, Nov. 8.

She cited state law that outlines the procedure for dismissal of a principal.

The vote was unanimous, with no discussion.

According to the statute, Perrin, who lives in New Hampshire, has 15 days to request a hearing. The board then has another 15 days in which to hold said hearing. The hearing would be in executive session unless both parties agree in writing that it be open to the public.

Should such a hearing take place, the principal and any member of the board may present witnesses and written evidence and cross-examine witnesses and the principal and the board may be represented by counsel. Either the principal or the school board may arrange for the taking of a “verbatim record of the proceedings,” the law says.

After the hearing, the board is to “affirm, modify, or reverse its earlier action.”

“Within five days after the conclusion of evidence in the case, the board shall issue a written decision that includes findings of fact and conclusions of law,” the law says. “Within 30 days of the day the written decision is delivered, the principal may appeal to the Superior Court under the rules for appeals from decisions in contested cases.”

Perrin has not been on the job since before spring break. The day school resumed, April 25, Young communicated via memo that Superintendent Mark Speno had placed Perrin on a paid leave of absence while he continued to collect his $120,000 annual salary.

Since that time, barely a word has been mentioned about his status.

In October, The Commons broke the story of “Jane,” who was a sophomore at BUHS in 2010 when, she alleges, Perrin started to make unwanted and inappropriate sexual and romantic advances toward her and found other ways to make her life difficult, including trying to prevent her from graduating [Former BUHS student says principal took 'sexual and romantic' interest in her, News, Oct. 5]. Jane suspects that Perrin did not report her rape by a fellow student to the authorities, as he is mandated to do as an educator.

Friends and classmates corroborated Jane's story, having witnessed Perrin's treatment of her.

Jane filed reports with the Brattleboro Police Department and with attorney Aimee Goddard, who is leading the sexual abuse investigation for the District.

Justice Law Collaborative, LLC, which has already put the school district on notice of potential legal action, citing former teachers Robert Hecker and Thomas Haskins reported by survivors as alleged abusers, is representing Jane.

Upon hearing the news of Perrin's dismissal Tuesday night, Jane said, “My love to all the Janes out there.”

Since Jane's story came to light, others have made reports about Perrin to the attorney. Many have commented on social media.

Parent Myles Danaher said on Facebook, “Perrin constantly harassed my daughter on a trip to China when she was a student at BUHS. I was aghast when I learned he was made principal. They paid this guy 120k a year? Shameless.”

The Commons also received an anonymous letter from a 31-year-old male who was a BUHS student and read Jane's story.

“The reports of these women line up exactly with my experience with Perrin during my classes with him and during his tenure as assistant principal,” wrote “Johnny.” “My experiences with Mr. Perrin have traumatized me since 2006 and I can speak for a few of my other male colleagues as well.”

Johnny claimed that if someone were so much as “even 60 seconds” late to his class, “he would force you to sing 'My Little Teapot' in front of the class or he would remove you from the class entirely.”

“This wasn't exclusive to being late,” he continued. “He took many opportunities to humiliate and assert his power over students. I cannot speak to his sexual relations with students, but it was clear he treated women much more favorably than my male colleagues.”\

“He almost enjoyed tormenting us with detentions and failing grades and trying to prevent us from going to college,” Johnny said. “Oftentimes he would lock the door to the classroom and refused to let students inside even if they were five seconds late. This is when they refused to humiliate themselves and sing in front of the class.”

“He would make the students sit outside the classroom for the duration of the class, depriving them of learning and then punish them after via failing grades,” he continued.

“While Mr. Perrin never did anything illegal to me or my friends, his behavior traumatized all of use and greatly impacted my mental health at the time. Your article triggered a lot of memories I had with him. I felt hopeless and scared when in his presence. I worry for any underaged person that is subject to his power as principal.”

“The reason I am writing is not because it is incriminating,” wrote Johnny. “It's because the testimony of 'Jane' sounds exactly like the Steve Perrin I experienced. She is telling the truth.”

Perrin has worked at Brattleboro Union High School since 1995. Prior to becoming principal there, he served four years as assistant principal. He taught chemistry and biology at the school prior to becoming an administrator.

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