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By Mehrose Ahmad and Sumaita Hasan, Managing Editor and Editor-in-Chief
At the Town Hall meetings this week, Interim Acting Principal Rosemarie Jahoda responded to multiple questions about a controversial statement she made that was first reported in The Classic last Friday. The quotation, “I’m not standing in the f*****g hallway,” led to questions about the principal’s credibility, character, and interest in being with students. The original source of that quotation has now returned to dispute the principal’s explanation of the conversation, and has provided The Classic with permission to release an audio recording of it.
The controversial quotation was brought up in every single Town Hall meeting, and many students raised the topic to question Ms. Jahoda’s honesty.
Freshman James Hopkins found Ms. Jahoda’s remarks at the Town Halls to be contradictory, saying he believed that it spurred distrust amongst the student body. He believed that Ms. Jahoda had at first denied the use of inappropriate language to The Classic, but then admitted to saying the statement in the Town Halls.
Similarly, sophomore Marsad Kabir expressed that, “It seems as if you’ve lied to our newspaper. How do you then respond to the reports of harassment that have happened in the past? If those accusations [the incident with the inappropriate language] were true, what about the rest?”
Ms. Jahoda answered all of the questions, but the original source of the quotation alleges that the principal has misled students at Town Halls when describing the context for the quotation.
At the Town Halls, Ms. Jahoda repeatedly apologized for the statement, describing the context of it as “private.” She first stated it was a private meeting and then at Friday’s Town Hall, she stated that it was a “private conversation.” She also said the statement was about herself, remarking, “I was talking about myself, no one else. I started with ‘I’” and “it wasn’t directed at anyone.”
The source, who is not a teacher or a student, does, however, work closely with Ms. Jahoda as a subordinate and claims that these statements were misleading.
The source agreed that the “meeting was behind closed doors,” but revealed that it was during work hours and “inside was an entire team of Assistant Principals.” The source believed that describing it as a “private conversation” suggested it was unofficial and casual. Yet it was, they said, “a meeting between professionals on the job.”
The source continued that the “subject of the meeting was benign—how to improve school climate. Principal Jahoda’s vulgar remarks were uncharacteristic to the positive nature of this meeting.” They also disputed the claim that the comments were not “directed at anyone” and that Ms. Jahoda was “talking about [herself], no one else.” They explained that Principal Jahoda’s vulgar language was in direct response to a comment made by a subordinate and that the manner in which Ms. Jahoda responded reflected her behavior when dealing with colleagues.
Finally, on the issue of vulgar language, the source maintained that this has happened before in such meetings with Ms. Jahoda, and that they have not heard such language from previous THHS principals in similar contexts.
Readers can decide for themselves by viewing the clip below. We have presented the original audio of the conversation with the permission of our source. To protect the identity of the source (given certain identifying features in the full audio), we have removed the voices of those present at the meeting besides Ms. Jahoda and have instead transcribed their words when relevant.
Ms. Jahoda did not return a request for comment.
A note on sources: We have sought to maintain the highest of journalistic standards. We do not release this evidence lightly. Yet, given that the Town Halls were used in place of class time to set the record straight on recent controversies, we believe it is important for the school community to have as much evidence at its disposal to make a decision on the truthfulness of what was said at the meetings. We have also been asked by numerous members of the community to be more candid with our sources and believe releasing this evidence is important to maintain our credibility.
We have held to strict rules about anonymous sourcing to ensure reliability. We have double-sourced the claims presented in our articles, listened to audio recordings that verify claims, and spoken to witnesses that corroborate the accounts of our sources. Though we are hesitant to provide any identifying information about our sources because the smallness of our community makes identification of those sources easier, we can make it clear that a significant amount of our information comes from both a set of teachers who have had direct interactions with Ms. Jahoda and a set of people from within the administration itself. More sources, however, continue to come forward as the news develops.