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Open Letter to the New Rochelle Board of Education on the Occasion of the Arrest of Jose Martinez on Charges of Sexual Molestation of a Child

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Open Letter to the New Rochelle Board of Education on the Occasion of the Arrest of Jose Martinez on Charges of Sexual Molestation of a Child

March 26, 2011 - 18:50

Dear Sara, Chrisanne, et al.

This is an Open Letter to the New Rochelle Board of Education.

According to the charges files against your former employee, a child was repeatedly sodomized by a man you recently promoted despite two years of complaints about his conduct at his previous school. The silence has been deafening.

I would submit that the Board of Education is making a serious error if you do not have some sort of parent information meeting in Monday evening to have the board and administrators come before the community, preferably at Isaac E. Young Middle School, to acknowledge concerns of students and parents and take whatever heat you have coming. Failing to do this would compound the inexplicable decision not to have anyone from the school district in attendance at the press conference at police headquarters on Friday or to communicate directly with parents at Jefferson, IEYMS and NRHS, all parents with children exposed to Jose Martinez. That you appear ready to allow three days to pass (or more) without reaching out to parents at the affected schools is unconscionable. I am sure you can all come up with many legalistic reasons to do nothing but there are times when you have to ignore the lawyers and show leadership. This is one of them.

While there is plenty of blame to go around at the building level and at the central office, it is all of you as Board members who allowed the full flowering of a culture which makes a Jose Martinez possible. I have many sources coming forward to tell me that there were meetings over the past two years where staff complained about inappropriate behavior by Martinez including pulling down the shades to his office when he was meeting with children, "bribing" them with money, candy, food, and gifts. I have encouraged these people to communicate with the NRPD investigators and the district attorney to share this information. Inappropriate physical contact between Martinez and students appears to have been an open secret in the building. What is clear from this information is that Anthony Bongo and Towanda Robinson knew of highly questionable behavior by Martinez and did nothing; worse they appear to have "solved" the problem by recommending him for a new position at another school.

The culture that has bloomed under your leadership is one where those who come forward with information about wrong doing are treated as the enemy and those who do wrong are viewed as victims to be be protected. It is seriously dysfunctional, bizarro-world culture.

No one in New Rochelle knows this better than me. I have repeatedly brought forward numerous instances of wrong doing and have been treated as pariah by the administration and the Board of Education. Some of you have even engaged in a despicable campaign to defame me (yes your words come back to me through many channels) in the hopes of discouraging residents, parents, my many thousands of readers, and now listeners from giving credence to my many reports of malfeasance in the district. The failure of this effort has never been more as it was yesterday when the entire community got to see who has been right (me) and who has been wrong (you). At some point the Board might want to consider whether you should be listening to me, someone who has been documenting the truth about New Rochelle schools for years or the pack of liars, crooks and thieves you have hired to run our schools.

Whether it be misappropriation of school equipment, people working no show jobs, theft, assaults, adults transmitting nude images of children, your head of security involved with a pornographic illegal gambling web site, fraudulent 211 waivers and violations of civil service laws, workers who falsified records on their job applications, employees with criminal records or various other crimes and wrong doing, my reporting has invariably proved out in the end. It explains why, despite the best efforts of school officials to discredit me, I have tens of thousands of readers and listeners each month.

My effort to inform the board about serious misconduct by school officials and staff in the issues with my own son -- Don Connetta, Gus Barbosa, Yvette Goorevitch, Joyce Kent, Marissa Raniolo, Richard Organisciak as well as your lawyers, Marion Katzive and Sheila Samuels, and others has resulted in ongoing retaliation against my wife, a school district employee, and myself. You know a letter from the SED regarding my son's Chemistry regents test was illegally withheld from me for 16 months, you know that Joyce Kent and Don Connetta lied to SED investigators regarding their knowledge of the second answer sheet on my son's test. It was no surprise then when after I received a death threat from a school employee at the district yard on Cliff Street you turned a blind eye.

I cannot tell whether some of you know about this wrong doing and avert your eyes or whether it is willful ignorance or that you are simply naive or just plain cowards but, as I have often said, the New Rochelle school system is a criminal enterprise with an educational mission. I might add that all of you on the Board as responsible for managing that enterprise and establishing that mission and so bear ultimately responsibility when death threats are made, administrators perjure themselves in State hearings and investigations or, as has now been made public, when a child is raped in the schools under your watch.

I think you all know there are going to be more cases and the "isolated incident" excuse is not going to cut it anymore.

I recommend the following:

1. Schools Superintendent Richard Organisciak should be directed to ask for the resignation of Anthony Bongo and Towanda Robinson immediately. If they refuse, they should be terminated for cause, failing to provide a safe and appropriate education for students at Isaac E. Young Middle School based on the confession by Mr. Martinez to police that he was sodomizing a student on school grounds over a period of months while in their care.

2. Once the separation of Bongo and Robinson has been accomplished, the Board of Education should similarly request the resignation of Richard Organisciak and, if he refuses, he should be terminated for cause, likewise, failing to provide a safe and appropriate education for students at Isaac E. Young Middle School.

3. Any board member who can not support these actions fully is unfit to serve and should resign effective immediately so that new board members can be elected in May as part of the normal election process.

Sincerely,

Robert Cox
Managing Editor
Talk of the Sound