Dumb school board member of the week gets no support
October 4, 2011
A Massachusetts school board member resigned following a much-publicized magic trick at a meeting where he appeared to remove the bra of a fellow board member. [The Enterprise]
The meeting was being aired live on cable television at the time.
Russell FitzGerald, 49, resigned Monday as chairperson of the Abington School Board in response to the controversy. He had served on the board for almost 12 years.
FitzGerald, who said he has performed as a professional magician, opened the school committee meeting on Sept. 27 with a handkerchief trick requiring three participants. FitzGerald had opened previous meetings with similar, smaller tricks.
In this one, high school teacher Steven Shannon and school board member Ellen Killian participated, but said they did not know what was planned. It involved FitzGerald tying two handkerchiefs into a knot and giving one end to Shannon.
With Killian holding the knot against her chest, both men then pulled on their end of the handkerchief, and out from under Killian’s arms popped a bra tied to the handkerchiefs.
Witnesses say the trick was met with stunned silence by the audience.
The next day, after the story broke in the local newspaper, FitzGerald issued a public apology to Killian.
FitzGerald said Monday he never wished to harm anyone, and acknowledged the meeting was possibly not the right venue for the trick.
“There’s a regret in a sense that if I did offend anybody or embarrassed anybody, I’m truly sorry,” he said.
Meanwhile, the local cable company is refusing to release a tape of the meeting to the media.