Greenwich protestors demand politics stay out of school


GREENWICH — Two opposing groups gathered at Central Middle School ahead of Thursday night’s meeting of the Greenwich Public Schools Education Committee. When asked why they were there, they said the same thing: “We want politics to be left out of school.”

The smaller of the two sides, whose participants held signs reading “Keep the GOP out of the school,” did not believe the school district was driving the policy.

The larger group of around 75 members wanted change.

The confrontation follows outspoken dissatisfaction with Greenwich Public Schools following the release of a viral video in which Cos Cob Deputy Principal Jeremy Boland appears to be discussing discriminatory hiring practices.

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For critics of the district, the video is the “tip of the iceberg,” it said on Thursday.

“It just threw up everything we knew — or we suspected,” said Jacqueline, a mother who declined to give her last name.

She said her friends told her their high school-age children had teachers who shared her dislike of former President Donald Trump.

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They did not believe that students should know their teachers’ political affiliations. That sentiment was shared by Western Middle School principal and social studies curriculum co-coordinator Gordon Beinstein at a board meeting earlier this month.

“My message to employees was really simple: no one is paying you to teach your children your values,” he said Sept. 8. “We are here to have discussions. There may be controversy, but it’s not about taking sides; they shouldn’t know where you stand.”

On Thursday, the protesters criticizing the district varied their allegations.

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“As far as I know, the unifying factor for this group is education, not activism,” said Tony Marek, a father of GPS students. “There may be other people here with different motives, but I can’t speak to that. ” he said.

The meeting’s public comment period allowed community members to contribute — including those with the harshest opinions.

Some echoed the demands of a letter signed by 67 Republicans demanding that Superintendent Toni Jones and Deputy Superintendent Ann Carabillo be placed on furlough while Boland’s comments are investigated.

Members of the Greenwich Patriots applaud a speaker during public comments at the Board of Education meeting at Central Middle School in Greenwich, Connecticut on Thursday, September 22, 2022.

Members of the Greenwich Patriots applaud a speaker during public comments at the Board of Education meeting at Central Middle School in Greenwich, Connecticut on Thursday, September 22, 2022.

Christian Abraham/Hearst Connecticut Media

Others criticized Jones and the board.

“This is a wake-up call for parents who think Dr. Jones does a good job. In a way, she is. But with record-breaking student performance and administrative embarrassment across the country, how could any thinking person just accept that everything is fine? Gail Lauridsen said, pointing to the low standardized test scores compared to previous years.



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