Lubec parents show support for ousted athletic director

Posted June 26, 2014, at 5:23 p.m.

LUBEC, Maine — Dozens of parents made a show of support this week for a veteran teacher at Lubec Consolidated School who was told she will not be recommended again for athletic director, a post she has held for two years.

About three dozen parents plus children met with Superintendent James Underwood for an impromptu gathering on Tuesday. About a dozen of those parents spoke out in support of Debbie Bousquet, who has been athletic director the past two school years.

According to Bousquet and a number of parents who were interviewed, the school started several new athletic programs under Bousquet’s leadership.

On the last day of school — Thursday, June 19 — she was notified by the principal, Tina Wormell, that Underwood would not recommend her for athletic director for the 2014-15 school year, Bousquet said Tuesday.

“Of course, I was very upset,” said Bousquet. She said she asked why, and Wormell called Underwood so Bousquet could ask him.

Underwood was not able to discuss his decision at the time but subsequently discussed it with her, said Bousquet.

Bousquet said that Wormell told her she did not agree with Underwood’s decision, but it was “out of her hands.”

Underwood was on vacation Thursday and could not be reached for comment.

Bousquet teaches grades three and four at the school, which serves grades pre-K through eight and is part of the MSAD 19 school district. Next year will be her 16th year teaching at the school.

The school only had a handful of sports before she became athletic director, according to Bousquet. It now has 14.

Bousquet, who lives in Trescott, said she coached six athletic activities in the 2013-14 school year — cross country, volleyball, girls all-star basketball, girls junior high basketball, mini-cheering and pee wee cheering.

Underwood was at the school on unrelated business on Tuesday. Parents carrying signs and placards in support of Bousquet demonstrated outside the school, according to some parents who participated. Underwood invited them into the gymnasium and listened as about 10-12 parents spoke in support of Bousquet. He took notes but did not answer questions in a meeting that lasted about 30-45 minutes.

Robbie Matthews, whose daughter, Ashlyn Dinsmore, is a student at the school, said Thursday that she was very disturbed when she heard the news about Bousquet.

“I was very upset. I cried for about two hours. She is one of the best things that has ever happened to this Lubec school,” Matthews said.

Her daughter, who will be in fifth grade next school year, has been taught by Bousquet for two years. Dinsmore this past school year participated in track, basketball and cheering. Dinsmore told Matthews that if Bousquet does not return as her coach, she does not want to participate in sports again.

“That’s how much these kids think of her,” said Matthews.

“We all are real upset over this decision because we don’t have a reason why … and we don’t feel it’s right,” said Matthews.

Judy Hayward, who worked as an ed tech at the school from 2000 until recently, praised Bousquet’s performance as athletic director.

“She’s done great,” Hayward, who described herself as a friend of Bousquet, said Thursday.

Underwood told the gathering that he would consider their input, according to Hayward, who attended the meeting. Although he said his decision was final, Underwood indicated he could “possibly” change his mind, Hayward said.

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