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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

Despite the national media attention about Ebola in recent weeks, there is one virus that is actually affecting Long Islanders, Enterovirus D68 (EV-D68), with one of the first cases identified in North Hempstead on Sept. 18 and a recent case on Oct. 15 in Suffolk County, which school officials called for the closing of school, as a health precaution. 

 

The Levittown School District has been vigilant with the increase of cases in general. “We are continuing to implement the precautions provided by the health department and the CDC,” said Levittown School District Assistant Superintendent for Administration and Personnel Darlene Rhatigan. “We are also reminding students and staff to be mindful of the importance of proper hygiene including frequent hand washing.”

Audrey Zhang, a sixth grader at Island Trees Memorial Middle School, took home first place in the Long Island Arts Alliance (LIAA) on Sept. 17. Zhang was honored at the Cradle of Aviation Museum for her work and was presented with a $500 check and an iPad Mini. Many dignitaries were on hand, including State Education Department Regent Roger Tilles.


Sports

 

Four Division Avenue High School seniors have signed national letters of intent to play baseball at local universities next fall. All four players were instrumental in winning the 2014 Nassau County Championship. 

The Island Trees Squirts Rockets U-6 team met with town officials, Supervisor Kate Murray and Councilman Gary Hudes at the 2014 Island Trees Soccer Club Opening Day Parade and Ceremony held at Stokes Elementary School. Pictured also with the Rockets U-6 team is President Joe Badolato, Event Coordinator Keri Cinelli, Equipment Commissioner Chris Blum, Travel Commissioner Mike Rich, Vice-President Brian Fielding and Rockets U-6 Coach Gina Weyland.



Calendar

Board of Ed Meeting - October 22

League Of Women Voters Talk - October 23

Lecture - October 24


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