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Letter: Why I Am Standing Firm

Now that we have a clearer version of events leading to Board of Education Vice President Terence Hale’s resignation, I am being pressed to withdraw my petition to the State Department of Education—supposedly to save the district the cost of responding. I will explain why I will not.

 

Mr. Hale implicated me in those emails. He either implied or stated that I and others are liars. He stated many other things improper for a school board member.

 

Mr. Hale claims he apologized to the board. However, his apology email was to me alone and did not specifically address his egregious transgressions. It diminished his culpability, saying the emails were “private” and “between adults.” He completely negated even that apology when resigning, saying the charges were frivolous and he was resigning solely to save the district money. Although he admitted privately to inappropriate language, in public he accused me of taking political advantage. Had he openly admitted his wrongdoing, or even read aloud the private apology, I’d be more inclined to let it pass.

 

But his resignation is disingenuous. He aims solely to avoid being exposed in the community or humiliated by review and possible removal by the State Department of Education. I believe his friends on the board told him to fall on his sword so blame would attach only to him. Yet he has made public his intent to run again next year. So what is the point of his resignation now but to quash my complaint?

 

He also solicited others to provide statements supporting him and attacking me. These actions say to the community: “If any of you hold us accountable this is what we will do to you.” Christine Napolitano told me by phone that she objected to Hale’s emails. 

Curiously, she now supports him. By portraying the charges as frivolous and engaging in a post-petition campaign to chill dissent, they force me to stand fast.

 

I first raised my objections privately, to the board. Mr. Hale had the chance to resign and chose not to. The board had a chance to reprimand him and chose not to.  

 

I also want it known that at the June workshop Mr. Hale and a supporter made veiled threats against my family. Mr. Hale suggested said that people like me will “get it in the neck.” His supporter—a district employee who works where one of my children attends school—suggested I should not want my children “bogged down with this baggage.” Not one trustee spoke out against his comments. No one who publicly attacked me was cautioned to be civil, a caution Mr. Hale has taken to extremes previously. I may seek separate legal relief to hold the board collectively and individually responsible for the travesty that was that June meeting; it was the epitome of an out-of-control, unprofessional board. The district and board also ignored a letter from my legal counsel requesting action on the veiled threats against my children.

 

Collectively Mr. Hale and his supporters believe they are unaccountable. They feel they can attack me, insult residents, and threaten my children with impunity. So, I will not withdraw my petition and further legal action may be necessary. I also do this for the people of the district, who should not have to fear that holding public officials accountable will lead to social ostracism or more serious damages. I am confident that the more light that is shed on this board, the more people will understand why I won’t back down. I will persevere.

 

Irene Parrino 

Mineola Board of Education


News

A clown named Renaldo performed magic tricks for an enthusiastic audience as part of the National Circus Project, which visited Levittown Public Library on Wednesday, July 16.

 

All 150 tickets available for the performance were sold out in this interactive magic show for children. Throughout the entire circus act, children laughed and raised their hands as high as they could to be chosen as one of Renaldo’s helpers.

 

Raising her hand to participate was three-year-old Kirsten Cantwell from Seaford. “She was upset that she didn’t get picked,” said her mother Melissa Cantwell.

 

Kirsten Cantwell goes to any activity offered at the library, and is starting to enjoy watching magic shows. According to her mother, she really enjoyed the performance.

 

In the circus show, National Circus Project performer, Al Calienes, acted as Renaldo the clown.

 

“The show has different components of acts in the circus,” explained Calienes. “We teach children circus moves.”

 

With the National Circus Project, children get to see magic tricks performed live. “We infuse enthusiasm by showing them, and they in turn will be able to repeat the process,” said Calienes.

Renaldo performed plate spinning, where he spun a plate on a stick and passed it along to the stick of one of his helpers from the audience, who then passed the plate down a line of three more helpers. This interactive way of teaching the children magic tricks really allows them to absorb what they are learning.

 

The National Circus Project travels and performs for elementary schools, as well as middle and high schools. When the National Circus Project is not going to schools, they perform at library shows, summer camps, and other types of events.

 

The performance entertains the adults as well as the children. “We involve everybody,” said Calienes. “Everybody’s engaged on some level or another. “

 

At every library performance, Calienes donates the children’s book he wrote and illustrated Renaldo Joins the Circus to the library. He feels that he owes a lot to the library system. “Anything that ever meant anything to me I learned in the library,” said Calienes.

 

Calienes learned how to draw from the library, which is how he became a commercial artist. One of the main characters he would always draw would be Renaldo the clown. “I wanted to make him real so I joined the circus,” he said.

 

Calienes has been performing with the National Circus Project for seven years and has been in the circus business going on 26 years.

 

The National Circus Project brings magic to children at any school, camp or library all over Long Island as well as across the country.

 

Last June, Nassau County passed legislation that allows for the deployment of a speed enforcement camera system in school zones for each of the 56 public school districts in the county. 

 

The new systems will be implemented throughout the county on July 25, and will be operational on scheduled school days throughout the year. 


Sports

Levittown’s Division Avenue High School varsity baseball team, under the direction of coach Tom Tuttle, won the Class A County Championship, garnering a third-place ranking in New York State. This is the team’s 13th county championship win and the second county championship for the school in the past four years.

 

In addition, senior Chris Reilly was named Championship MVP for throwing a complete game shutout in game two and going three for four with two RBIs. 

Taylor Traenkle, a junior at Division Avenue High School recently received the MVP award for the Nassau County Varsity Hockey League Association.

 

Traenkle, who plays no. 9 for the Levittown Ice Falcons, led the way averaging 2.8 points a game with a total of 25 goals and 23 assists in just 17 games. 


Calendar

Lazy Days Of Summer - July 26

Flea Market - July 27

Darlene Prince and the Bragg Hollow Band - July 28


Columns

1959: The Year The Music Stopped Playing
Written by Michael A. Miller, mmillercolumn@gmail.com

The Eccentric Heiress Of ‘Empty Mansions’
Written by Mike Barry, MFBarry@optonline.net

Yellow Margarine And A Pitch For The Ages
Written by Michael A. Miller, mmillercolumn@gmail.com