To literally no one’s surprise, members of the Bridgeport Board of Education have once again shown their hypocrisy.
Not a year ago, former BOE chairwoman Sauda Baraka was claiming that parents should have an opportunity to speak in school board committee meetings. Now? She is silencing them. Of course, last year she was standing up for parents who agreed with her, and this week she was shutting down dissent.
Baraka’s hypocrisy, however, was not the worst part of what happened at Wednesday’s Policies and Procedures committee meeting at Jettie S. Tisdale School.
The worst part what Baraka was silencing parents for opposing:
Allow any adult in Bridgeport to share a bathroom with elementary school students by opening Tisdale school library to the public during “off hours.”
The plan, which the BOE and their lawyers have been mulling over since at least last October, would open the current school library to the public during after-school hours, holidays and weekends.
While the rest of the school would technically be off-limits to the public, the library would share a bathroom with students in the Lighthouse program and other after school activities.
In case it isn’t already obvious, here’s why this is a terrible idea: Public libraries aren’t like schools. They can’t bar certain people from entering their buildings. Not only that, unlike public schools, public libraries cannot block explicit content from being viewed on computers. They are required to grant access to any information that’s protected under the First Amendment – including pornography.
All this didn’t stop Baraka, who is conveniently also the vice president of the library board, from defending the proposed Memorandum of Understanding by claiming it calls for the library to provide more security.
“At no time would there be a safety issue,” insisted Baraka according to the Connecticut Post.
Needless to say, the more than 50 parents and staff members in attendance were left unconvinced.
Tisdale Parent Advisory Council President Ivelies Torres said she saw how opening the library could be beneficial to the community, but felt that “the danger behind it is was so much greater it knocks the benefits off the chart.”
“There are a 150 kids here from 4 to 6 PM in the lighthouse program, [and] now you have people coming in from the outside,” said Torres. “That’s opening up a whole different world.”
Another Tisdale parent, Elisa Sanders, was also upset by the proposal, saying she was uncomfortable with the plan no matter how many security guards were posted at the school.
“It’s a safety issue for our kids,” said Sanders. “There’s no amount of security that can be put in the building to protect anyone going into that bathroom.”
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