GREENWICH – Parents took to the podium to discuss claims of employment discrimination and the appropriateness of school curriculums on Thursday night at the first public meeting of the Board of Education since the release of a hidden-camera exposé of Cos Cob Asst. Principal Jeremy Boland. In the heavily-edited video, Boland claimed to discriminate against conservatives, Catholics, and older hires.
Speakers were limited to three minutes at the microphone during the hour-long public comment portion of the meeting, but despite requests to hold applause and threats of removal by board members, attendees cheered those they supported and jeered at those they didn’t.
“You are the body that is closest to the parents here,” said State Rep. Kimberly Fiorello, R-Greenwich. “I urge you to listen to the needs of these parents because there is a great desire for these folks to have to be heard.”
Fiorello said she was disturbed by the implication of Boland’s videotaped comments that school administrators believed parents should not have a central role in the education of their children.
“The school serves the parents… we must see the parents as the primary decision makers for our children,” Fiorello said.
But Jennifer Kutia praised Greenwich Public Schools Superintendent Toni Jones for her willingness to meet and discuss an evaluation of the district’s special education practices.
“Parents who are here tonight speaking out against Dr. Jones, ask yourselves if you have ever considered sitting down privately at the table with the superintendent of schools. If you haven’t I would suggest that you reconsider your position,” Kutia said. “And yes, I’m a Republican.”
At the meeting, Jones submitted the results of a 2022 school climate survey polling teachers, students and parents.
Janet McMahon, a parent, took to the podium to praise the administration and express how pleased she was with the survey results.
“84 percent of parents felt they were welcomed partners in their child’s learning and 79 percent felt there were adequate opportunities to express concerns and opinions about important issues impacting their child,” said McMahon.
Over the eight years that her children have attended Greenwich Public Schools, McMahon said she has never encountered instances of indoctrination by a teacher or administrator or encountered political propaganda.
“Do not listen to the noise. Continue to do the good work you’ve been doing,” McMahon said. “And if you ever doubt yourself, just look at the school climate survey.”
Carl Higbie, a commentator on Fox News, CNN and Newsmax, said he never received the survey, and certainly wouldn’t have given the administration “straight A’s.”
He addressed Jones directly.
“I’d also like to commend Toni Jones,” Higbie said. “You have messed up so royally that you have deemed the town necessary to send a dozen cop cars and 20 cops to a Board of Education meeting.”
Higbie said that the upset parents were not a fringe group or domestic terrorists.
“We just don’t want the over sexualization of our children. We’re against critical race theory. We’re against all this other stuff,” Higbie said as attendees clapped.