Pro-Israel parents booted from heated school board meeting

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By Dan Sears

A parent school board meeting in Brooklyn descended into hate and chaos as more than two dozen people, including many Israel supporters, were tossed from the virtual event.

The Wednesday meeting was the first for the Community Educational Council for District 14, which covers Williamsburg and Greenpoint, since its controversial promotion of a Nov. 9 pro-Palestinian rally in which hundreds of students walked out of school, including some who yelled “f–k the Jews!”

A father who questioned the organizations CEC 14 partnered with for the walkout, including Youth for Palestine, was told by Vice President Marissa Manzanares, “Redirect yourself or you will be removed.”

Another dad, who said he fears for the safety of his Jewish kids, tried to address the CEC’s posts about “settler colonialism” and “apartheid” but was cut off and berated.

“You need to be lectured,” a fellow attendee told him, while another snapped, “Have you come to a CEC meeting before?”

The chat section of the CEC meeting on Wednesday night took center stage as parents feuded over Israel and Palestine.

While many Jewish parents were booted, other parents were allowed to freely spew antisemitic comments.

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“There is literally no proof of Israeli babies being murdered or Israeli women raped,” one attendee wrote.

Those who praised controversial CEC 14 president Tajh Sutton went uninterrupted long past the one-minute time limit for speakers. Many had #StandWithTajh backgrounds on their screens.

Parents debated the Community Education Council’s place in taking a political stance on the Israel-Hamas war during a virtual meeting.
CEC 14 zoom

“After the CEC D14 meeting on Wednesday night, it feels clear to me: the inmates are running the asylum,” said Brooklyn parent Lisa Liss, who pulled her kids from the public schools in District 14 last year over concerns of antisemitism. “The unchecked, outrageous antisemitic abuse hurled at D14 community members can only be described as insane.

“Their behavior has not only gone unrestrained but has been supported and enabled by the superintendent, the DOE, school administrators, and even local elected officials,” she added.

Another District 14 parent said he and his wife would consider leaving if they could afford it.

He was booted when he countered claims that parents were only speaking out because Sutton is Black.

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“To insinuate that any of us are doing this because of the race of the president is so offensive and such a gaslighting maneuver,” he told The Post.

A father who questioned the organizations CEC 14 partnered with for the Nov. 9 walkout, including Youth for Palestine, was told, “Redirect yourself or you will be removed.”

One former member of the school community familiar with the CEC said Wednesday’s meeting was reminiscent of pandemic-era divides.

“People were afraid to talk in meetings,” said the source, who requested anonymity. “The rhetoric is the same. It’s a board of activists, not a board of family representatives.”

Nearly 1,800 people have signed onto a petition calling for the CEC 14 members to be removed.

The city’s Department of Education has not commented on District 14’s tumultuous CEC, but a day after the meeting, Deputy Chancellor Kenita Lloyd sent a notice to all the parent councils reminding them that fully virtual meetings are no longer permitted and noting social media content for the groups “should reflect the views of the CCEC as a body, rather than the views of individual members.”

Many have criticized CEC 14’s use of its official platforms and emails for political messaging.
X @council_14

Sutton called last week’s student walkout a “beautiful form” of civic participation and defended the council’s previous statements.

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“We already had our mayor, our chancellor, our governor, and the US president stand with Israel . . . we are unpaid parent volunteers that saw a gap being created by leadership.”

The CEC did not respond to requests for comment.

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