By Matthew Robare
Rumors had been flying fast and furious since it emerged that Saugus High School Principal Joseph Diorio hadn’t returned to work after the winter break; in fact he was on a leave of absence, but that was all anyone knew.
Some rumors said he went missing in Florida while others said he was led away from the high school in handcuffs by Saugus police last week.
Saugus Superintendent of Schools Richard Langlois issued a statement Wednesday: Diorio is on paid leave “pending the conclusion of an inquiry into the management of certain financial and other affairs of Saugus High School.” The statement also said that the leave is not a punishment and Diorio is cooperating. Langlois has asked for people to refrain from speculation.
High school students have made fun of their principal’s absence by creating fake “Missing” posters and posting them around town.
But according to a recently-published Boston newspaper article, the same accounting firm that investigated the town’s finances, Powers & Sullivan, will audit student activity accounts. Issues with the accounts date back to 1989.
Until Wednesday no school department or city official had provided any information about Diorio’s absence, to the annoyance of residents and school employees and to the amusement of students.
Town Manager Scott Crabtree was unavailable to comment on the audit or Diorio’s leave of absence. Assistant Principal Jason Merrill, who has taken over for the duration of Diorio’s absence, was also unavailable to comment.