In its apparently authoritarian style, Bridgeport’s District Parent Advisory Council is holding an election tonight to replace Juan Torrealba as Cesar A. Batalla School’s Parent Advisory Council president.
Tonight’s election might have already been held, if the district council leadership had been allowed to act unimpeded. They tried to replace Torrealba during what amounted to a closed election, because only involving the voters who will side with you is a classic way to rig election results.
It was Batalla’s principal — used to dealing with children — who thankfully asked for the election to be rescheduled, a fact with which the iron-fisted, Working Families Party-aligned district council leadership was none too pleased.
The good news is that the same parents who have been shouldered out of the process have asked the Bridgeport Board of Education to investigate. They want to know how the parent advisory council could just remove an elected local school president at whim.
District Parent Advisory Council president and Bridgeport Working Families Party propaganda minister Tammy Boyle supposedly sent around a petition about Torrealba but, hey, how weird, not so many parents knew.
Charles McNeal, a parent of three Batalla students, told the Board of Education, “Parents were not aware that anyone was considering removing Mr. Torrealba … or even that the petition they were signing would remove Torrealba as president.”
The logical follow-up question is “why?”
Why would the parent advisory council so effectively hush up a rushed removal of a school council president?
The answer is that Torrealba didn’t toe the party line.
Initially, Torrealba led the charge in organizing parents against the city’s proposal to build a police shooting range adjacent to Batalla School.
Mayor Bill Finch, you may recall, said the city would look into other locations. In Torrealba’s mind, his job was done. A rally on the issue was called off.
But the district Parent Advisory Council leadership is aligned with the Working Families Party, and the Working Families Party was using the range as a means to effect its political will. They couldn’t take yes for an answer, so Torrealba was soon out of a job.
When the investigation was raised at the Board of Education’s last meeting, former Chairman Rev. Kenneth Moales moved to refer the matter to the Community Engagement Committee. The next meeting of that committee is on Feb 13.
Thank goodness for the parents who are involved enough to cry foul and call for an investigation into obviously shady practices.
This is, after all, an organization intended to represent parents, not silence them.
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