DRACUT -- Hours after a Sun story hit the Internet, and the streets, about a high school teacher who could lose his job for insubordination, a student petition cropped up online demanding administrators let him stay.
On the website, change.org, students began tacking their names to a digital letter directed to Dracut High School Principal Richard Manley and Superintendent of Schools Steven Stone defending high school English teacher Robert Moulton. Graduate of Dracut High School Jessica Lindroth launched the petition Sunday afternoon.
"Mr. Moulton is an amazing, passionate educator who inspires students daily to become empowered through writing...," Lindroth wrote in her posting. "Losing Mr.
A Sun reporter recently interviewed Moulton shortly after he received news he would be fired on Oct. 21, pending the superintendent's approval. In April, Moulton was reprimanded for reading his own short story in a classroom full of seniors titled "Song to Bob (Dylan)." Manley was notified of the incident by a special-education paraprofessional who complained of the profane language used in the narrative.
Moulton told The Sun he was suspended for seven days with pay at that time and instructed to supply administrators from that point forward with his five-day lesson plans in advance.
In the past week, Moulton said he was confronted by the school principal for only submitting "rough outlines" in a private meeting. Moulton said he told Manley he would not comply by providing more detailed plans and subsequently, a constable delivered a letter to Moulton's New Hampshire residence last Wednesday notifying him of his last day.
Within about two hours of the online petition's creation Sunday, Lindroth's letter had 82 signatures requesting Moulton be allowed to keep his $75,000-a-year job. Students took to Twitter voicing their support too, many using the hashtag label "#RevoltinForMoulton."
Lindroth, a former student of Moulton's who could not reached for comment before press time, wrote in her letter the actions taken against Moulton by administrators are "extreme and unwarranted." She wrote she recalled her beloved teacher would read his own writings in the classroom at time, and the readings would at times contain profanity, but she likened it to the same foul words you'd find the classic novels "To Kill a Mocking Bird" and "Catcher in the Rye."
"Mr. Moulton did not do anything wrong," she wrote. "He simply exposed students to another kind of writing, a kind with which students can identify."
Former students also commented on the petition, stating Moulton was a valued educator who bettered their writing. James Tuttle, of Dracut, posted, "Without his classes, I doubt I would have taken writing as seriously as I do."
Stone declined to comment in The Sun's Sunday story, citing the issue was a "personnel matter," and could not be reached for additional comment Sunday.
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