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Last night the Asbury Park School Board held its first public meeting since laying off multiple staff members while parents pleaded for their children. This meeting was expected to be heated, as over 90% of staff members had signed on to a vote of no-confidence in Superintendent Rashawn Adams. This update borrows heavily from the Asbury Park Reporter: the video feed for the meeting shut down repeatedly.
NJ Education Report will have fuller coverage on Monday.
According to the Reporter, the meeting itself was delayed for 45 minutes because there was not a quorum for the board; the boarrd president and vice president never showed up. Asbury Park Education President John Napolitani presented the no-confidence vote results, citing “a hostile work environment, lack of collaboration, violations of Board of education policies, retaliation of staff for speaking out and reporting violations, and the elimination of critical positions.”
Board member Anthony Remy , visibly shaken, left the dais to speak during the public comment session. Expressing a different perspective, he spoke passionately, ‘the priority here should be the children first…By the grace of God, the people of Asbury Park elected me to be a representative of the people for the ones that look like me, coming after me…We are going to lose this place,’ alluding to the impact that gentrification is having on the school district by the changing demographics. When he his comments exceeded three minutes, Acting Board Chair [Barbara] Lesinski reminded him his time was up.
At that point Remy started walking out. Lesinski followed him, saying he had to say because if he left there wouldn’t be a quorum.
Former school board president and current city council president Angela Ahbez-Anderson defended Adams, saying the teachers were simply upset at being held “accountable.”
The article ends this way:
At that point, the meeting imploded. Board members were in heated discussions with members of the public and members of the public were shouting at each other. Eventually, the meeting was brought back together and the Board officially went into executive session.