Brooklyn parent board bans attendees from public meeting

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By Dan Sears

A controversial Brooklyn parent board blocked parents and press “not in alignment” with its extreme leftist agenda from attending its monthly public meeting this week — a brazen violation of state law.

At least a dozen people were blocked from joining Wednesday’s Zoom meeting, including a Post reporter who was apparently forbidden simply for identifying as a journalist for New York’s favorite newspaper.

“If people are not in alignment with our community agreements, they may not be allowed in this space,” Community Education Council 14 President Tajh Sutton told the 40 comrades allowed to attend.

The group took it a step further, empowering itself to boot any dissenter it deems a member of a “hate group” by tweaking its “community commitments.”

“We reserve the right to remove participants causing discord, spreading misinformation, and/or affiliated with hate groups,” read the group’s new community commitments — which needed to be agreed to before registering for the meeting.

The CEC, a volunteer advisory group that covers Williamsburg and Greenpoint, also launched a smear campaign against Moms for Liberty and Parent Leaders for Accelerated Curriculum and Education NYC, accusing them of having “segregationist agendas” in a resolution on the agenda.

Those who did attend the two-hour meeting said their speech was restricted by a disabled chat and limited public comment period.

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The Community Education Council for District 14 required a set of questions to be answered to register for last week’s Zoom meeting. CEC 14

But one of the few people allowed to speak was James Parra, a city Department of Education paraprofessional who has defended calling Israel a “racist” and “terrorist” state and has used the term “Zionist pig.” He joined in bashing the superintendent, according to attendees.

The troubling behavior — which critics said is a clear violation of the state’s Open Meetings Law — has been ripped as something out of Communist China.

“It’s shameful that CEC 14 is obsessed with lying and disparaging a parent advocacy group that has helped thousands of NYC families navigate our public school system,” said Yiatin Chu, co-vice president of PLACE NYC, a group that supports merit-based education and rigorous academic standards.

A controversial parent council for District 14 in Brooklyn blocked those “not in alignment” with its “community agreements” from a public meeting Wednesday, sparking an order from the chancellor that they must comply with state law.

“CEC 14 should focus on representing the families in District 14 and comply with the Open Meetings Law like every other CEC. Their continued disregard for good governance and blatant censorship is disgraceful,” she added.

The Open Meetings Law requires that parent meetings be open to the general public and held in person, but the CEC’s meetings are still conducted entirely over Zoom.

“The Executive Orders authorizing purely virtual meetings have expired,” Christen Smith, a senior attorney for the state Committee on Open Government told The Post.

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Public bodies may not limit who can attend and can not require that attendees to identify themselves to gain entry into a public meeting, she added.

Many members of the public, and a Post reporter, were blocked from the Zooms, which are subject to Open Meetings Law.

Only through an Article 78 proceeding in the state Supreme Court can actions by administrative agencies be challenged, Smith noted. The court then decides the appropriate remedy.

“In my opinion, the CEC can ask that attendees complete the form … but cannot require it, or particular responses, in order for anyone to gain entry into the meeting,” Smith said.

The state also advises that “positive and negative comments must be treated equally by a public body.”

In recent months, the CEC 14 booted Jewish parents for pro-Israel beliefs shared in the chat and helped organize a massive pro-Palestine school walkout.

At least a dozen people and a Post reporter had their registrations canceled or were removed from CEC 14’s Wednesday Zoom meeting.

This week, the president and vice president used the public comment time to bash District Superintendent David Cintron for proposing a mediation session to ease tensions related to the Israel-Hamas war.

Cintron referenced Hamas but Sutton corrected him in the chat saying, “PALESTINE.” She added, “I expected this from bad actors, not from the leader of our district. This will empower the very individuals we reconfigured this meeting to disempower.”

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Sutton and Manzanares wanted Cintron to acknowledge the “violence” they say the board has faced, according to sources who listened in.

Community Education Council President Tajh Sutton said in the chat that the public forum was “reconfigured” to “disempower” certain individuals.

A letter sent out before the meeting said they won’t share the “triggering” experiences, however, because they don’t want to be a “source of trauma.”

Schools Chancellor David Banks sent CEC 14 an order stating that they must comply with the New York Open Meetings Law, according to the DOE.

“Claims about actions at this week’s meeting are very concerning and will be addressed,” the department stated.

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