Submitted by Joe Angland, Chair, Greenwich Democratic Town Committee
In response to the Project Veritas edited videotape of a Cos Cob School assistant principal’s purported description of a bias against hiring conservative, Catholic and older teachers, three of the four Greenwich Republican candidates for the statehouse – Kim Fiorello, Ed Lopez and Peter Sherr – have thrown caution, fairness and concern for the town’s finances to the wind.
Among other things, they have called for immediately suspending the Superintendent and Deputy Superintendent of Schools in response to this “effort to influence and indoctrinate students with specific political ideologies.” Given that the official investigations of the incident have barely begun, this reeks of political opportunism.
To be clear, if the assistant principal did what he appears to have claimed, he should suffer the consequences, and the school system should take steps to prevent its recurrence. But, notwithstanding the Republican characterization of their allegations as “irrefutable,” there are several reasons to pause and await the results of the investigations.
First, Project Veritas, an undercover sting operation with a well-known conservative bias, has a reputation of misleadingly editing videos, and as a starting point the investigations need to determine if that happened here.
Second, even if the edited video is accurate, the question remains whether it’s true. Consider the context: a date with a woman the assistant principal met on a dating site who was secretly recording their conversation for Project Veritas. People have been known to stretch the truth to impress a date, and while we don’t know if that’s what happened here, that uncertainty is precisely why the investigation should precede the judgment, not vice versa.
Third, some of the known facts suggest that caution is appropriate. Contrary to what many people assume, the assistant principal is not a Democrat. Indeed, we have some indication that his politics are not progressive, which would raise questions about whether he was really pursuing the progressive agenda he apparently described to his date.
As far as this being a systemwide issue as opposed to the aberrant conduct of one individual, the political affiliation of the town’s principals and assistant principals — 16 Unaffiliated, 7 Republican, 5 Democratic, 1 Independent and 4 unknown — raises serious doubts about any Democratic or liberal bias.
This rush to judgment against the school system is not only unfounded, it is profoundly reckless and dangerous to the town.
Basically, these candidates confess the town’s liability for a nefarious scheme that could subject it to substantial liability and discourage people and businesses from moving here.
We would expect candidates who seek to represent Greenwich in Hartford to first ascertain the facts rather than recklessly attempting to exploit the situation for political advantage.
Chair, Greenwich DTC