Leominster Superintendent's Trip to Florida as Students Learn Remotely Draws Criticism

Students in Leominster, Massachusetts, are learning remotely due to the city's coronavirus infection rate, but their superintendent, Paula Deacon, traveled to Tampa, Florida, for a Buccaneers game

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A Massachusetts school leader is under fire after traveling to Florida for a football game while students in her district learn remotely.

Paula Deacon, superintendent of Leominster Public Schools, was the subject of social media posts revealing her trip to Tampa last week to attend the Tampa Bay Buccaneers' game against the Atlanta Falcons.

Students in Leominster are on remote learning until at least Jan. 25 because of a coronavirus infection rate approaching 12%.

While the trip doesn't violate any laws or COVID-19 regulations, people in the city say it doesn't look good.

"I don't like the idea of the superintendent going to Florida when she's supposed to be setting an example and she's closing the schools for the kids," resident Candy Thomas said. "I understand what she's doing cause she's human but you need to set an example."

Another woman who didn't want her name used said this when told the Superintendent didn’t break any rules,

"They say not to do something and then they do it," said another woman, who didn't want her name used. "So it's not right."

School committee chair Eileen Griffin has spoken to the superintendent. She says Deacon and her husband own a home in Florida and have every right to take a vacation like anyone else.

"As long as they are following COVID protocols and doing what they need to do, then they're acting responsibly," Griffin said. "And it's unfortunate that this is garnering such negative attention."

She says the superintendent is following the rules to the letter.

"She registered with when leaving out of state," Griffin said. "She's certainly being tested both in Massachusetts and in Florida. She's following all of the COVID protocols."

Griffin says she doesn't see this as a matter the committee should take up.

NBC10 Boston reached out to the superintendent, but has not heard back.

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