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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 group of Levittown parents are voicing their concerns with letting their children walk to school, since it would mean they would continue to cross Hempstead Turnpike.

 

“My kid has to cross [Hempstead Tpke.] daily without a crossing guard,” said Division Avenue parent Wendy Lantigua. 

 

For Lantigua and others, the dangers of Hempstead Turnpike became all to real after 13-year-old Brianna Soplin was struck and killed by a hit-and-run driver, last June. Not to mention the fact that another 14-year-old Levittown student suffered multiple injuries after being struck in hit-and-run, last February. 

On Sept. 14, Hempstead town officials joined family and friends of fallen New York City paramedic Rudy Havelka, to unveil the re-dedication of Birch Lane in Levittown. 

While surviving the World Trade Center attacks on Sept. 11, 2001, Havelka wou ld later die of an illness related to his service at Ground Zero.


Sports

The annual One Love Long Island (OLLI) Yoga Festival takes place at the Sands Point Preserve on Sunday, Sept. 21 from 8:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. All profits will be donated to organizations that support survivors of human trafficking, locally and globally. 

 

The festival will unite 16 Long Island yoga studio communities in a round robin of the traditional yogic practice of 108 Sun Salutations from 9:30 a.m. to noon, whose offerings will look to create long-term and sustainable solutions to eradicate the human trafficking epidemic by raising funds and awareness for the cause.  

As a fitness coach and a mother, Melissa Monteforte of Locust Valley knows how important it is to stay healthy, and how difficult it can be for women to make themselves, and their health, a priority. Wanting to help women take charge and feel more in control, she organized the Fit & Healthy Mamas Annual 5K run, now in its third year, which took place on Saturday, Sept. 13 at Eisenhower Park in East Meadow.

 

“I felt like running was the best outlet when I became a mother; it’s such a great way to get fit and feel healthy and I wanted to share that with other moms,” says Monteforte, 31. “I wanted women to feel celebrated, no matter their fitness level, and to put their health first.”


Calendar

IT Board of Ed - September 17

All Star Comedy - September 18

Irreversible Paul Lynde - September 19


Columns

1959: The Year The Music Stopped Playing
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