An article appeared in the Greenwich Time recently about a letter that called for the Greenwich Superintendent and Deputy Superintendent to be placed on leave during the investigation of Greenwich Schools hiring practices. We have obtained a copy of the letter so you can read it in full.
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Our community is shocked by the recent video of Cos Cob School Assistant Principal Jeremy Boland revealing discriminatory hiring practices, unapproved curriculum, and blatant disregard for parents’ involvement in the education of their children. GPS’ apparent implementation of such unapproved policies and illegal hiring and teaching practices is not surprising to many of the undersigned, and it has deteriorated the confidence of Greenwich citizens in GPS’ ability to educate our children. Indeed, this story has shaken the confidence of citizens across our state and nation. Accordingly, we support immediate action to be taken by the BOE.
To date, First Selectman Fred Camillo has instructed the Town Attorney to engage an independent law firm to conduct an investigation and the State Attorney General has announced the commencement of his own investigation. In addition, the State's Education Commissioner has announced an investigation of unknown scope. Moreover, we understand that GPS has been put on notice of potential litigation and must preserve records. It is unclear if the U.S. Department of Education or other Federal agencies will also investigate.
In light of the various investigations and potential litigation, the BOE should be mindful of the various conflicts of interest presented and we strongly urge the BOE to take steps to mitigate such conflicts and avoid conduct that may undermine the integrity of such investigations. The well-documented and irrefutable statements of Mr. Boland made clear that discriminatory hiring and teaching practices are part of a larger effort to influence and indoctrinate students with specific political ideologies. He also implies that these practices may be part and parcel of a systemic policy promoted by GPS leadership and reinforced through staff development training throughout the town’s schools. Mr. Boland’s comments complement numerous other documented evidence of bias. Certainly, the various investigations will explore the depth and source of Mr. Boland’s stated actions, including whether he was behaving in accordance with expectations placed upon him by GPS administrators.
Any internal investigation conducted by GPS will be questionable given the numerous potential conflicts of interest presented among BOE members (who have a duty to oversee, monitor and approve GPS policies and practices), GPS administrators and other employees, given that such persons may be named as defendants in potential civil rights lawsuits alleging discriminatory hiring practices, among other claims.
As governors of Greenwich Public Schools, Board Members must prioritize the interests of the organization and students over the interests of any individual staff or individual Board members. Accordingly, in order to advance these interests, at the next BOE meeting (scheduled for September 22nd), the BOE should take the following four actions:
I. Superintendent Toni Jones and Deputy Superintendent E. Ann Carabillo should be immediately placed on administrative leave until the investigation by the independent law firm retained by the Town of Greenwich is completed.
II. The BOE should suspend, and direct the GPS administration to suspend, any internal GPS investigation into the matters implicated by Jeremy Boland’s disgraceful statements, including discriminatory hiring practices and indoctrination of students, and to preserve all documents and records.
III. The BOE should instruct school administrators to remove from the classroom any curriculum and instructional materials that have not been reviewed and approved by a majority vote of the BOE.
IV. The BOE should review its policies relating to preventing political and religious bias in hiring and instruction, including curriculum materials, lesson plans and teaching practices, and take strong steps to enforce such policies. Also, the BOE should review all administrative practices and procedures in order to ensure they are consistent with the approved policies.
We look forward to attending the Board of Education Meeting on September 22nd and trust that these recommendations will be thoughtfully and thoroughly deliberated.
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P.S. If you would like to offer public comments at the Greenwich Board of Education meeting on Thursday, September 22nd, you can sign up right here.