An undercover, edited Project Veritas video of Cos Cob School’s Assistant Principal Jeremy Boland talking to a woman about his bias against hiring Catholics or people over 30, hit the internet on Aug 31.
Reaction was swift.
Immediately, an investigation by Greenwich Schools was announced by Superintendent Dr. Joni Jones.
Greenwich First Selectman Fred Camillo called for an outside investigation “into not only this administration but the damage caused to applicants, past and present.”
The Governor issued a statement, saying, “Discrimination of any kind has no place in Connecticut, especially in our public schools.”
The State Dept of Education launched its own investigation.
Using his Civil Rights authority, Connecticut Attorney General William Tong announced an investigation into “any potentially illegal discrimination or actionable misconduct.”
“We are going to investigate broadly the contents and circumstances of that video and we’re going to assess, analyze and review all of the available evidence,” he added.
While the DTC chair Joe Angland cautioned against a rush to judgement, the situation did not simmer down.
An exchange of letters between CT Deputy Associate Attorney General Gregory O’Connell and Project Veritas garnered more headlines.
Mr. O’Connell wrote to the founder of Project Veritas James O’Keefe saying, “This letter is your notice to preserve all material potentially relevant to this investigation. You must take immediate action to prevent the deletion or spoliation of any such material. We anticipate issuing subpoenas for relevant material.”
“If our investigation substantiates a pattern or practice of illegal conduct, we may initiate appropriate litigation to enforce federal and state law,” O’Connell added.
As for relevant “material,” a footnote in O’Connell’s letter listed information, documents, recordings, video recordings and communications of any kind, however stored, as well as electronically stored information of any kind including information on computers, handheld devices and smartphones. The letter said Materials also included digital messages, emails, text messages, instant messages, social media posts, communication using private messaging applications, calendars, phone and cell phone logs, voicemail messages and other digital or online communications.
In response, on behalf of Project Veritas, Paul Calli of Calli Law wrote on Sept 10 demanding that O’Connell retract his letter.
“I presume that you have read the First Amendment,” Calli wrote, adding that the threat to subpoena Project Veritas violated the freedom of the press.
Citing protections for journalists under CT’s “Shield Law,” the letter said Project Veritas would not comply.
“Kindly inform your boss that Mr. O’Keefe respectfully suggests that the Attorney General stay in his lane and do what the citizens and voters of Connecticut expect of him,” the letter continues.
Prior to announcing the investigation earlier this month, Tong said: “I think there’s something really wrong with vigilante journalism, and I don’t think it should be celebrated. There are no rules when somebody engages in Wild West vigilante journalism and tries to entrap somebody.”
And still the situation continued to garner headlines.
Last week a letter signed by 67 Greenwich RTC members and Associates was sent to Republicans on the Greenwich Board of Education with the notation it was in response to “Apparent Discriminatory Hiring Practices and Systemic Political Indoctrination of Students…”
The letter lists four specific demands.
• that Superintendent Toni Jones and Deputy Superintendent Ann Carabillo be immediately placed on administrative leave until the investigation by the independent law firm retained by the Town of Greenwich is completed.
• that the Greenwich Schools internal investigation to be suspended.
• that the BOE to instruct the administration to remove from the classroom any curriculum and instructional materials that have not been reviewed and approved by a majority vote of the BOE.
• that the BOE review its policies relating to preventing political and religious bias in hiring and instruction, including curriculum materials, lesson plans and teaching practices.
At the close of the letter, the 67 signers said they looked forward to attending the Board of Education Meeting on September 22.
The list of signers includes Republican candidates for State Rep Kimberly Fiorello (149), Peter Sherr (151) and Ed Lopez (150); the RTC the executive committee and many, but not all RTC members.
Former First Selectmen Peter Tesei and Housing Authority board chair Sam Romeo both also signed the letter.
As for this Thursday’s BOE meeting at Central Middle School, there will be a public comment session.
Prior to the meeting there is a rally planned outside CMS 6:30pm. A Greenwich Patriots e-blast says, “We need every parent who cares about their children receiving an education, not an indoctrination, to attend this meeting. There is strength in numbers! Please bring your signs and join the rally!“
The last time there was a rally before a BOE meeting at CMS, it was in Oct 2021, when about 100 teachers and members of the GEA and CEA walked to CMS from GHS to protest “threatening and harassing” behaviors.
On that night the teachers carried signs that said “Stop Attacking Teachers,” “Stop Harassing Teachers,” and We Support Diversity, Equity and Inclusion.”
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