GREENWICH — Parents took the podium to speak Thursday night at the first public meeting of the Board of Education since the release of a hidden-camera synopsis about Cos Cob Asst. Principal Jeremy Boland. In the heavily edited video, Boland claimed to discriminate against conservatives, Catholics and older employees.
Speakers were limited to three minutes at the microphone during the hour-long public comment portion of the meeting, but despite requests for applause and threats of removal from board members, attendees cheered those who supported them and taunted those who didn’t.
“They’re the closest body to parents here,” said state MP Kimbery Fiorello, R-Greenwich. “I challenge you to listen to the needs of these parents because there is a great desire that these people need to be heard.”
Fiorello said she was concerned about the implication of Boland’s videotaped comments that school administrators believed parents should not play a central role in their children’s education.
“School serves the parents … we need to see the parents as the primary decision-makers for our children,” Fiorello said.
But Jennifer Kutia commended Greenwich Public Schools Superintendent Tori Jones for her willingness to meet and discuss an assessment of the district’s special education practices.
“Parents who are here tonight and speaking out against Dr. Jones, ask yourself if you’ve ever considered sitting down privately with the principal. If not, I would suggest you reconsider your position,” Kutia said. “And yes, I’m a Republican.”
At the meeting, Jones presented the results of a 2022 school climate survey that surveyed teachers, students and parents.
Janet McMahon, a parent, took the podium to commend the administration and express her satisfaction with the survey results.
“84 percent of parents felt they were welcome partners in their child’s learning, and 79 percent felt there were appropriate opportunities to raise concerns and opinions on important issues affecting their child,” McMahon said.
In the eight years her children attended Greenwich Public Schools, McMahon said she never experienced instances of indoctrination by a teacher or administrator, or political propaganda.
“Don’t listen to the noise. Keep up the good work you’ve done,” McMahon said. “And if you ever doubt yourself, just look at the school climate survey.”
Carl Higbie, a commentator at Fox News, CNN and Newsmax, said he never received the survey and certainly would not have given the government a “straight A”.
He addressed Jones directly.
“I also want to salute Tori Jones,” Higbie said. “You screwed it up so regally that you felt the city needed to send a dozen squad cars and 20 cops to an education board meeting.”
Higbie said the angry parents weren’t a fringe group or domestic terrorists.
“We just don’t want over-sexualization of our kids. We are against critical race theory. We’re against all this other stuff,” Higbie said as attendees clapped.