Barile talks openly about claims of improper conduct
-By Seth Daniel
One decorated Revere High School (RHS) teacher is going on the offensive this week to clear her name from widespread rumors that she is at the center of several inappropriate relationships with students.
Veteran English teacher Nancy Barile said that there had been many reports on the Internet over the last week, and even one Boston television reporter making phone calls, about a supposed “RHS Sex Scandal.”
Even on Tuesday, Superintendent Paul Dakin said he took phone calls from state education officials who had been contacted by the same television reporter.
“She’s one of our best and I’ll stand with her,” said Dakin on Tuesday, adding that Deputy Superintendent Anne Marie Costa and former Principal Dave DeRuosi feel the same way. “There’s absolutely no way I believe any of these allegations can be true and I have, in fact, talked to one person whose name I had been given and he and his father dismissed it…[The state] is now satisfied with the investigation at hand and now knowing more about what’s going on in the community, I think they’re backing off.”
Barile said she was absolutely shocked when the claims surfaced on the Internet, and then her name was linked to them.
The 16-year teacher has won numerous awards, including a ‘USA Today Teacher of the Year’ designation, the Bob Costas Award for Excellence in the Teaching of Writing, and she is now set to win a Commonwealth Award next month.
Besides the public accolades, many students and teachers at the high school have known her to go above and beyond to help kids.
She was well known for having helped and discovered the talent of track star Merzudin Ibric when he was on a downward spiral after moving to America from war-torn Bosnia.
The list goes on and on, and many would agree that Barile – who is married and in her 50s – is probably the last person anyone would link to such a scandal.
Now, her signature teaching approach – going the extra mile for kids – seems to have harmed her, but she said she’s ready to fight her own battle here.
“I think I will continue to risk it by helping kids the way I do as long as my bosses know my intentions are for the good of the kids and the school and not some salacious, shady thing that I’m doing,” she told the Journal. “I don’t know where the protections are for teachers nowadays. These things make it tough. I’ve seen enough Lifetime movies and read enough stories in teaching journals to be aware of these things. I never thought I’d be part of it.
“That being said, the truth always comes out,” she continued. “It has come out here now. There are no allegations and no complaints. I have a spotless record. I’ll stand that up against any liar or sociopath that wants to put something on the Internet.”
Barile said she didn’t even know the claims were about her when she first heard of the report, posted on a local infamous website. Later, she said she learned that the report was about her, and that reporters from Boston had been calling former students.
Dakin told the Journal that he followed up with some of those students in his investigation and all of them denied any such inappropriate relationship.
Barile and others said that they believe the beginning of the problem came during a classroom lecture a few weeks ago.
Admittedly, Barile said she made some comments about a political figure that were probably over the top. She wanted to stress the importance of qualifications.
Those comments apparently got back to the subject, who in turn, sent a message back to Barile that there was going to be reprisals. Soon after that, Barile said her troubles began.
She believes there is a definite connection, though it hasn’t been proven in any way.
“I thought it was a teachable moment with kids who will be voters soon and I was saying why I thought you need to be thoroughly qualified to run for office,” she said. “I sometimes tend to be a little to outspoken. Sometimes it’s a good thing and this time it wasn’t.”
The person referred to by Barile and others was contacted by the Journal, but did not return a request for comment. Therefore, the Journal has withheld that person’s name as there is no proof the person is involved.
Meanwhile, Barile said she wants to face the whispers, the curiosity and the strange looks head on so that her reputation isn’t tarnished any further.
“I wanted to take the high road; my mother always told me that cream rises to the top,” said Barile. “On the other hand, I don’t want people who don’t know me to think that these things might be true. I’ve made a career out of refuting negative stereotypes about Revere teachers and kids…I always want people to know how great Revere is. This gets it right in the gutter where people always think we are. It’s a sad state of affairs.”
She defended herself as well, saying she has never been a friend with current students, but that she does keep in contact with former students once they have been out of school for a few years.
She said that students – male and female – will often call her up when they are in college and ask for help filling out forms, or to help open doors for them professionally.
“I would never be a friend with a current student; no teacher should be,” she said. “But I have kept in touch with my former students. I feel it helps me in my practice as a teacher. It lets me know how I did.”
Part of the story that can’t be avoided is the dangers in today’s world of being an activist teacher – going the extra mile – and how that can appear to others.
Dakin said he backs it up because he believes in Barile.
“Is it dangerous? Absolutely in today’s world, the way things are,” said Dakin. “You are taking somewhat of a risk, but do we want to help kids or not?”
Barile agreed, but said she wouldn’t change how she teachers.
“It’s a double-edged sword when you’re the kind of teacher I am, when you go out of the way to help kids – male or female,” said Barile. “It was always a risk I was willing to take. I always felt I was above board and that I didn’t have anything to hide. Our kids sometimes need a little extra help. I will continue to do that and be that kind of teacher.
“I won’t be quite as outspoken as I have been,” she concluded. “I can tell you that.”