M&M Investigation Ended, Student Expresses Frustration

Fiona Murphy, Editor-in-Chief

February 13th, 2020

Zoey Clark speaking at the October 8th board meeting. Connections were later drawn between her comments and Halloween costumes worn at the district office.
Will Oviatt/Pepperbox

The Northern Humboldt Union High School District school board reached a decision regarding the “M&M ” situation last Tuesday. In a statement read at the board meeting Board President Brian Gerving explained that they concluded the investigation. 

The incident under investigation was a Facebook post made by a district office secretary named Tammy Pires that some saw as mocking Zoey Clark, a student, who spoke at a board meeting. The student expressed frustration about Pires and superintendent Roger Macdonald eating M&Ms during her comment. On Halloween, the employees of the district office dressed as M&Ms and the Pires posted a photo to Facebook with a caption that bore a very close resemblance to Clark’s comment. 

After an outpour of anger from district students, teachers, and family, the board launched an investigation. 

The board hired an outside investigator to “maintain impartiality and rebuild trust with the community.” The statement explained that the investigator made “several factual findings,” but the board did not disclose those findings due to confidentiality. 

The statement said that “appropriate corrective actions have been initiated,” but was unable to elaborate for legal reasons. 

The board emphasized that incidents like the one in question should not happen again and they are dedicated to keeping the district a comfortable place for its students. 

“The Board is committed to an ongoing review of policies pertaining to staff interactions, bullying, and appropriate use,” the statement read. 

The end of the statement expressed support for students who speak at meetings and a desire to move forward. 

“The Board also wants to commend the students who bravely spoke at its meetings during public comment,” it said. 

Clark did not share the board’s hopeful sentiment and expressed dissatisfaction with the results and the investigation itself. 

“I didn’t feel heard,” she said. 

Clark was not interviewed during the investigation because her parents refused, but she was not aware until after the fact. She also was unhappy with the lack of transparency when it came to results. 

“I won’t know if they actually took any action,” Clark explained. 

She received a more in depth explanation of the results of the investigation from the law firm hired by the district but was unable to share them with Pepperbox. However, she expressed frustration with those results. Clark, who is a senior this year, claims the events left a significant impact. 

“I had a mental break down at a show,” she said, “It lead to me distrusting everyone in charge [of the district].”

Clark’s anger and frustration has not dissipated.

“I’m considering my legal options,” she explained.