Former Bridgeport Board of Education member Maria Pereira is famous for her confrontational behavior; however, her latest attempts at slandering newly appointed board member Kadisha Coates cross the line entirely. What she is doing to Coates is harassment and the definition of cyberbullying.
Famous for her internet antics, Pereira spent the past week and a half going from website to website, making more than 60 comments on various articles disparaging everything from Coates’ integrity, intelligence, and even her physical appearance. She even went so far as to write a 600-word letter to the editor, which calls Coates’ appointment an “insult.”
Here is one truly disturbing example from the comments section of Only in Bridgeport, where after a confrontation; she calls Coates “nervous, timid and weak”:
Pereira’s vicious insults didn’t end there. In another comment on Only in Bridgeport, Pereira – who apparently believes she has the right to speak for an entire community that she’s not even a part of— warns Coates that she and her comrades are “gearing up” to oust her from the board:
Here’s another one where she attacks Coates’ intelligence, calling her “clueless:”
Plain and simple, Pereira’s behavior is cyberbullying.
Don’t take my word for it. Look at the district’s anti-bullying policy – something I assume Pereira, as a former board member, would be well acquainted with:
“Bullying shall include, but not limited to a written, verbal or electronic communication or physical act or gesture based on any actual or received differentiating characteristics, such as race, color, religion, ancestry, national origin, gender, sexual orientation , gender identity and expression, socioeconomic status academic status, physical appearance, or mental, physical, developmental or sensory disability…”
Clearly, Pereira’s repeated attacks on Coates fit the district’s definition of bullying. Even more so now that state law changed in 2011 to include, “cyberbullying” as a serious form of harassment.
Had Pereira been a Bridgeport student, state law would have required the district to do a complete investigation, and she would be facing a serious consequences, ranging anywhere from suspension all the way up to expulsion.
How can we ask Bridgeport students to stop bullying each other, when former board members think harassment can be used as a political tool? It’s shameful, and quite frankly, disappointing — even coming from Pereira.
Pereira refused to comment on her aggressive behavior and demanded I never email her again.
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