Parents and community members appeared before the Newburgh Board of Education to express their frustration with the board and the Newburgh Enlarged City School District following a recent report about the reinstatement of teachers involved in an insensitive incident regarding a student’s hair extension. The comments were made to the board members during the January 24 regular district meeting at the district auditorium at 124 Grand Street.
Last summer, parents and stakeholders came out to express their frustration with a Facebook post made by art teacher Nicole Mischo at Newburgh Free Academy Main campus which showed a braid extension on the ground. The braid was compared to a snake in the post and additional comments from district employees also included insensitive language. The following week, several employees, who were not identified, were suspended by the board of education. It was uncertain whether they were in relation to the Facebook posting incident.
Two items, resolutions 8.16 and 8.17 of the January 10, 2023 regular board of education meeting on the board agenda were titled as “Resolution to Adopt Hearing Officer’s Decision”. Cassie Sklarz, Director of Communications for the district, was contacted for more information on the resolutions, to which she referred to the board’s meeting minutes if there were any questions on the items.
According to the two agenda items, both passed with votes by board members Carole Mineo, Darren Stridiron, Mark Levinstein, Jerry Lamar, and John Doerre in favor. Board members Philip Howard and William Walker voted against the item and members Ramona Burton and Renee Greene were not present at the time of the vote.
A Freedom of Information Law request was sent via email to District Clerk Mona Novotny requesting a transcript of hearing decisions. The district has yet to respond.