New Rochelle, August 6, 2019
Residents from every racial and ethnic background spoke out at the August 6 Board of Ed meeting here to protest the decision to hire Dr. Laura Feijóo . At the end of June the school board rushed through a decision to hire Feijóo without input from the community, and the public response has been unrelenting ever since.
The audio recordings of district parents and community activists reveal a profound disappointment in the board’s failure to reach out to constituents formally or otherwise, in the weeks and months leading up to the hiring decision. There is notable difference between the racial composition of the board, and that of the district’s enrollment. Approximately 70% of the district’s students are non-white.
The central issue is that Feijóo is a plaintiff in a $90 million dollar lawsuit against her current employer, the New York City Department of Education. She claims her civil rights were compromised under promotion practices that held her back in favor of non-white administrators.
While New Rochelle boasts of embracing diversity, racial unrest has recent history here too. A Black high school principal was fired after violent incidents erupted last year at New Rochelle High School. A white student, Valerie Schwab was murdered by a Black student, Z’inah Brown, off campus, in January 2018.
The New Rochelle Board of Ed shows no sign of reversing its hiring decision. Requests for comment by Board President Amy Moselhi from RedBlueTalk have gone unanswered.