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Ex-headmaster’s staff say problems were known

Rodney Peterson, the Boston school headmaster allowed to keep his job after he assaulted his wife, was chronically absent from work and struggled with personal bankruptcy for much of his career here, raising questions among his former staff about why Superintendent Carol R. Johnson spoke highly of him as recently as last month.

Johnson, who has apologized for not placing Peterson on administrative leave after his assault arrest in June 2011, repeatedly championed Peterson during his three-year tenure in Boston, creating a $126,000-a-year job for him in 2011, describing him as “among our most outstanding school leaders” in a letter to the judge who sentenced him last August, and recently giving him a reference for a new job in Memphis.

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