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UPDATE: Oxford School Officials to Paint Over Paterno Picture, Quote

Board chairwoman says, "Great Oak is a school, and we need to put kids first and (Paterno) didn’t do that."

OXFORD, Conn. - The Oxford public school system will paint over an

Oxford Board of Education Chairwoman Paula Guillet said the board had from the Greak Oak Middle School gym in December but wanted to wait until a final report had been completed about the Penn State sexual abuse scandal.

“We wanted to make a decision based on facts and not hearsay,” she said.

A 267-page report about the Penn State sexual abuse case that was released Thursday by former FBI Director Louis Freeh says Paterno did not do what he should have to protect children from serial child molester and former Penn State assistant coach Jerry Sandusky, 68, who was convicted of molesting 10 boys over several years.

About 20 years ago, someone painted Paterno’s picture and a quote by the late coach, who was once an iconic figure in college football and beyond, alongside other well-known Americans at Great Oak. The quote says, “My best team will be the one that produces the best doctors, lawyers, fathers and citizens, not necessarily the one with the best record. Let’s keep it in context.”

Guillet said Monday, hours after Oxford Patch ran an article about the issue, that she had been leaning on taking it down but didn’t want to speak for interim Superintendent John Reed when a Patch reporter asked her about whether it would be taken down on Friday. On Monday morning, other news organizations began inquiring about the Paterno picture and quote, Guillet said, adding that Reed is in agreement that the painting should be removed.

Guillet said the issue was going to be discussed at this Tuesday’s school board meeting but there is probably no need now.

“The bottom line is, Great Oak is a school, and we need to put kids first and (Paterno) didn’t do that,” she said.

Becky Gall- Piorek July 17, 2012 at 01:36 PM
I am very glad at this decision. JP knew what was going on and chose football over what was right for kids. To me, he was just as guilty as Sandusky. He is not a hero or a moral leader- he is nothing more than a coward.
John M. Joy July 17, 2012 at 02:32 PM
A man who, on receipt of second-hand information (and a purportedly vague depiction, at that) from a graduate assistant, who then reported the matter to his superiors, is AS GUILTY AS a man convicted of multiple accounts of sexually assaulting minors? How very... peculiar. Perchance, did you read the Freeh report (and I mean the entire thing, not just the Executive Summary, or - worse - only the media accounts of the report)?
Bonnie July 17, 2012 at 02:38 PM
Joe, it's always nice to hear nice thoughts from other people! Yes therapy helps a lot! Forgiving... Not so easy! That's where I have trouble! The sweet revenge is that I'm alive and he is not! We have a family business and going to work everyday only to see his face made me sick! I can now go to work and hold my head high! I'm so happy to hear that your girlfriend has overcome and is also a strong person and is able to educate others! I hope to do that some day, I don't think there's enough education to our children. We need to make our kids more aware of these predators that prey on kids, I don't think parents educate enough, if they're not from a family that have dealt with abuse, I don't think they think it could ever happen to their kids. The sad thing is it seems to be the thing to do now a days. It's a sad world! Best of luck to you and your girlfriend! I'm glad to hear she's a strong person!
Jane July 17, 2012 at 04:36 PM
Bonnie, you and I should have a cup of coffee together.....been there, done that, right down to the death from cancer!!! I'm FREEEEEEEE!!!!!
Coach Carb July 17, 2012 at 05:22 PM
I agree that the Paterno quote must be removed. Its very sad that someone who dedicated his life to helping young people for 61 years at Penn State could have lacked the judgement to stop a monster from raping children. Paterno knew, but covered it up. That is simply unacceptable. Coach McQuery told Joe Paterno what he witnessed. The Joe Paterno I grew up admiring should have personally stopped Sandusky. Preferrably with a gun. Paterno was one of my heros growing up. I badly wanted to play for him, but I was not good enough to. It hurts me to say this, but he is an icon no more. Break out the paint...
Bonnie July 17, 2012 at 05:45 PM
Jane, it's nice to know others have been down the same crappy road! I'm also free! Coffee would be good with someone that has something in common with me! Some people judge me and I just feel that they just don't get it! Maybe we can meet up soon!
Rangs July 17, 2012 at 06:26 PM
The painting/quote was put there to inspire Oxford's youth. The man who's image and quote are used was found to have protected a monster who preyed on children.  Children.  The reason he did this?  To protect the reputation of his football program. By doing this that man no longer serves an inspiration for Oxford's youth. I fail to see how this is an "opportunity for discourse", or why removing the painting/quote is akin to "taking the easy way out."
David Yish July 17, 2012 at 06:48 PM
Thanks Rangs. My point exactly. The BOE is not "handing down some sort of sentence" on the matter nor should it. They have plenty on their agenda looking after the education of our students. There are others who will pass judgement one way or the other. The ability to inspire by leaving it up has long since passed.
Bonnie July 17, 2012 at 07:01 PM
Citizen X, just a question for you. If one of your children were to be abused, would you put a picture up of the abuser or another person who covered it up on your child's bedroom wall? It's not an easy way out and I've been to that school recently, I've got 2 daughters at GOMS, they know about the Penn state disgrace. I don't want a picture of that man overlooking nor inspiring my kids. I want my kids knowing that if you do wrong, you will no longer be an inspiration.
Joe Blow July 17, 2012 at 07:10 PM
Bonnie, Don't waste your time trying to explain this to people who will consistently try to rationalize it away to further their own agenda. This is how this particular situation began. Rah, rah, rah, B.S.!!!!
Joe Blow July 17, 2012 at 07:11 PM
Maybe we should just leave it up there to remind everybody of the scum that troll the world (sarc.)
Citizen X July 18, 2012 at 02:16 AM
So we are concerned about the messages we send to children, but it's ok to wish that Paterno had a gun in order to play judge, jury & executioner? Interesting.
Joe Blow July 18, 2012 at 03:06 AM
To Citizen X, you can rest assure that if I caught somebody molesting one of my children, I would definitely be the "judge, jury and executioner". If that would make me a bad person and people would paint over my portrait, I could care less and would do it over the same way. Does that answer your question?
Abe July 18, 2012 at 03:11 AM
Here is a thought. Paint over his picture and name. Leave the quote.
Abe July 18, 2012 at 03:19 AM
One more thing. The quote is not inspirational. It is a statement that puts sports in perspective. He, Paterno, appears to have failed at keeping things in perspective. Again, keep the quote, paint over his picture and name.
Bonnie July 18, 2012 at 01:32 PM
Why would you want to leave anything this disgrace of a man had to say on the wall of our kids middle school. If he made the quote, he didn't truely believe what he said. Words mean nothing, actions mean everything! I don't want my kids reading a quote from anyone that covered up such a crime. There's plenty of other quotes made by powerful, honest idols that can be put up there! I think all persons like myself that are victims of abuse should be givin a paint brush! I wish the man were still alive to face the music....
David Yish July 18, 2012 at 01:56 PM
I heard this morning that Penn State itself is contemplating if they should remove the statue of Joe Paterno on their campus. If the college where he coached is close to taking this step... Point taken Abe about the inspirational (really a statement about perspective) aspect of the quote. I guess I was also considering the quotes from non-athletes in the educational areas of GOMS.
Lori Amann-Chetcuti July 18, 2012 at 07:03 PM
Perhaps the last valuable lesson Joe Paterno can teach young people is that a reputation that took a lifetime to build can be destroyed in an instant, and that it's easier to talk about values than it is to live by them.
Siwanoy July 18, 2012 at 08:44 PM
John, that is a tough stance to take since really there is no severity of guilt, its either guilty or not, and reports point to joe pa having to face serious criminal charges if he were still alive.
John M. Joy July 18, 2012 at 11:15 PM
I'm not sure of that. In fact, by my reading of Freeh's report (including the attached evidence), he essentially started with his conclusions and worked backwards. This is not surprising, given he was a consultant hired by PSU. Once again, did you read the entire Freeh report? Or just the Executive Summary? Or are you relying solely on media accounts?
Citizen X July 19, 2012 at 01:18 AM
Joe Blow, you're clearly not a man to be trifled with. Tell us more about what you would do.
Citizen X July 19, 2012 at 05:00 AM
The university is under pressure to remove the statue, while others believe it should remain in place. Copied below is the latest. The difference is there will be a discussion & a debate at PSU. Somehow Oxford's leadership knows better than one of the leading public universities in the nation, not to mention the university where all of this happened. My guess is that the statue at PSU will be removed as well, but at least there will have been debate, discussion, & learning, as opposed to rushes to judgment that are in line with popular (& loud/obnoxious) thought. "I'm still in the process of talking with members of my leadership team," Erickson said. "I'll want to talk with members of the board and others. And we will make a decision, and we will make the right decision based on what we believe is the best course of action for the university."
Joe Blow July 19, 2012 at 01:44 PM
@ citizen X, I would do what any father would do to protect their children and others from a scumbag pedophile. Why would you ask me to "tell us more about what you would do"? Are you some demented person who gets off on these fantasies? Let's hope for the sake of the children we never have to find out.
Joe Blow July 19, 2012 at 01:49 PM
Hey Citizen X, maybe Oxford does know better than PSU what is best for OUR children. Typical BIG government mentality, the university must know whats best for everybody because they are the "educated" ones. Sooooooooo, let's form a committee of 10 people, making six figures, to decide what's best for us so they can justify their existence (and pay).
Citizen X July 19, 2012 at 01:57 PM
Joe Blow, you certainly sound much smarter than the President of Penn State.
Joe Blow July 19, 2012 at 02:09 PM
Thank you and I very well may be.
Bonnie July 19, 2012 at 03:30 PM
Joe blow, you and I are much smarter than the scum there at Penn State. Ya covering up sexual abuse is a real brilliant idea huh? I think they outta tear down the entire university and start all over with a group of people that have never been associated with the college what so ever! Just my personal crazy little thought. Some may think its a "STUPID" idea but I don't care! Getting rid of every and anything that had or has to do with those envolved should be gotten rid of, thats everything!
Siwanoy July 19, 2012 at 03:35 PM
well said
Becky Gall- Piorek July 20, 2012 at 12:55 PM
My point was yes-JP was guilty. He knew and allowed Sandusky to continue to be around children. Football became more important. He was an accessory and yes, he's just as evil in my eyes. He sat by and allowed it to keep occurring.
John M. Joy July 20, 2012 at 01:13 PM
If you honestly believe that someone who received nebulous second-hand information from a staffer and then communicated his concerns to his higher-ups is JUST AS EVIL as someone who has MOLESTED CHILDREN, you have a very warped set of values. As for the "football is more important" - given the evidence (as opposed to the conclusions drawn) in the Freeh report (I've read it - have you?) I don't get that impression at all. And, given that 2001 was not too long after events like the Kern County daycare fiasco (and many other episodes like it), I really cannot blame someone in Paterno's position for wanting to proceed with caution. Incidentally, there were allegedly three eyewitnesses: "Janitor A," "Janitor B," and Mike McQueary. McQueary did exactly what Paterno did: reported the matter to his supervisor. The janitors told NO ONE. How come they get a pass?

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