Stoneham superintendent keeps job after waiting to tell parents about intruder at school

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Stoneham superintendent keeps job despite waiting to notify families about intruder


Stoneham superintendent keeps job despite waiting to notify families about intruder

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STONEHAM – Stoneham’s school superintendent is keeping his job after a controversy involving an intruder who tried to get into an elementary school last month.

The school committee released a statement Friday saying Superintendent David Ljungberg didn’t violate any policies, though they disagreed with his decision to not immediately alert parents.

On March 21, the principal of South Elementary School called police after a man tried to get into the building. Police said the man, 39-year-old James McCarty, was armed with a knife and experiencing a mental health crisis. He allegedly tried to run away but was arrested nearby. According to the police report, McCarty is a convicted sex offender.

Parents were not told about the incident until five days later. According to the school committee’s statement, Ljungberg opted not to inform them “based on the information available at the time, including that this appeared to be a mental health crisis, Stoneham Police had responded quickly and there was no disruption to the school day.”

The decision prompted dozens of parents to show up to a scheduled school budget meeting to voice their frustrations. One parent told Ljungberg they had zero faith in him.

Ljungberg and the town’s police chief both apologized, with Ljungberg saying, “It is undeniable that the buck stops with me. I am sorry. I apologize for not having handled the situation differently.” 

“We apologize for the distress this has caused. We recognize that promptly sharing as much information as possible, and updating our community as needed, is the minimum expectation. As a school district, we will do better to ensure this lack of communication does not happen again,” said the school committee in their statement, in part.

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