After fleeing from a chaotic confrontation with District 26 parents, Schools Chancellor Richard Carranza has seemingly ignored elected officials’ request for a return to continue the conversation.
Uncontrollable pleas from the crowd, including from a father whose daughter was sexually abused by a classmate and a mother whose daughter was physically assaulted on camera, forced the Jan. 16 Community District Education Council meeting to shut down early. Two days later, the council released a statement clarifying that “the Chancellor chose to end the meeting abruptly due to what he felt as ‘safety concerns.’”
Rep. Grace Meng (D-Flushing), Councilmembers Paul Vallone (Bayside), Barry Grodenchik (Oakland Gardens) and Peter Koo (D-Flushing), state Sen. John Liu (D-Flushing) and Assemblymembers Nily Rozic (D-Fresh Meadows) and Ed Braunstein (D-Bayside) had sent a letter to Carranza the day of the council meeting demanding answers on the reported sexual assault and physical violence at MS 158. Two of the victims’ parents addressed the chancellor at the meeting, but the council adjourned before their and the officials’ concerns were addressed.
The seven elected officials followed the letter with another that demanded the Carranza return to District 26 and hold a public meeting to address the concerns over school safety that were excluded from his last visit. Similarly to the first, the letter has since gone unanswered and the chaotic meeting unacknowledged by Carranza.
“Parents are our most important partners, and in addition to the Chancellor’s town hall last week, the Superintendent is in regular contact with schools, students, and families,” Miranda Barbot, acting Department of Education press secretary, said in an email Tuesday. “We’re exploring options for additional meetings, and the incidents at Marie Curie are under investigation.”
When asked whether there was any indication Carranza may fulfill the officials’ request to return, District 26 Community Education Council President Adriana Aviles said, “I am afraid there is no follow-up date as of now, and I seriously don’t think there will be one.”
Not directly related to the incident in Bayside, a “Fire Carranza rally” was to have taken place outside of Murry Bergtraum High School for Business Careers in Manhattan on Wednesday, Jan. 29.
Carranza is scheduled to return to Queens March 2, when he’ll speak at CEC 24’s monthly meeting.