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Special meeting called over alleged Nazi-related postings

Posted: June 10, 2013 8:04 p.m.
Updated: June 10, 2013 8:04 p.m.

The Saugus Union School District scheduled a special meeting for Thursday night, and some parents were investigating the possibility of a recall, after online reports that a member was implicated in alleged social media postings regarding Nazism.

The member in question, Stephen Winkler, could not be contacted Monday evening. But in a letter sent to The Signal he said he would no longer post online.

“Every time I post, it either results in a smear or an honest misunderstanding of the facts,” Winkler wrote in the letter, “so this will be the last time that I will write a letter to The Signal, make a comment, post on Facebook or Twitter.”

Winkler proceeded to describe the difference between National Socialism, which he said is Nazism, and the “government-controlled economic system” of socialism.

“Socialism, unlike National Socialism, is not evil,” he wrote. “However, the question is whether it is practical and whether the people want to pay the price tag for it.”

Saugus Union School District board member Judy Umeck called a special meeting for Thursday at 6:30 p.m. at district headquarters over allegations that Winkler was linked online to social media postings regarding Nazism.

“Pursuant to board bylaws, I have formed an ad hoc committee of the board to investigate the allegations of misconduct by Mr. Winkler,” Umeck wrote in a statement issued Monday. “Winkler will be provided an opportunity to respond to the allegations prior to the board taking action.”

“The remaining board members will be conducting due diligence in reviewing the allegations,” she added.

Saugus Union School District board member Rose Koscielny said she has received several emails from concerned district parents asking how a recall would be conducted after the Winkler allegations circulated Sunday.

She said the board could not remove Winkler from office even if it wanted to.

“As a school board, we can’t fire him,” she said. Voters elected him, and “they can un-elect him.”

“I’m as concerned as they are,” she said of contacts from parents. Those who asked about a recall she directed to the county Registrar-Recorder’s office, which conducts district elections, she said.

Board member Doug Bryce also said he’s heard from parents on the issue — “just a few.”

“They were concerned about the nature of the comments and whether these are appropriate for a representative of this district,” he said.

Like Koscielny, he noted the board has limited options.

“Really, the action would be with the public,” he said. “Free speech is guaranteed by law, even bad free speech.”




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