A parent from Jefferson wrote the following email which I have reprinted here with permission:
I am writing you this correspondence in support of your efforts and actions covering the Martinez case. I am one of the concerned Jefferson parents. My son is in kindergarten and I have had numerous interactions with Mr. Martinez during the past year. Like many of the Jefferson and Isaac Young parents, I trusted him, and am now shocked at the allegations, particularly because I am the father of a young boy. I am also a lifelong product of New Rochelle schools - starting at Mayflower, then Albert Leonard, and then the High School, and I returned to New Rochelle with my family so that my son could go to New Rochelle schools, so this incident is particularly disturbing.
I was at last Monday's so-called parents' meeting in which Superintendent Organisciak unsuccessfully tried to placate us parents in a smug, detached and condescending manner. The administrators who addressed the parents read mechanically from prepared written speeches, rather than speaking directly to us from the heart. In fact, the entire meeting served no purpose whatsoever other than (1) damage control for the school district/Bd of Ed and (2) to let parents vent some well-justified frustration. In fact, It was rather bizarre for school district officials and Bd of Ed members to be announced and stand at the beginning of the meeting as if they expected applause from the audience. "Out of touch" is the phrase that pays. Moreover, the availability of "counselors" at the meeting seemed to me to be a rather empty and weak gesture of support...unless they will be used at some point to try to discover if any of the Jefferson kids were ever molested by this man.
At the meeting that evening, my main concern was "who knew what when?" With this in mind, I questioned Organisciak directly on (1) the issue of incomplete background checks on the 2007 hires and (2) whether school officials knew about Martinez's alleged inappropriate behavior for the past 2 years - as you had reported in your articles. He used the phrase "consider the source" in his weak attempt to answer my questions, to which I replied to him that if your reporting was so inaccurate, then why hasn't the District obtained any retractions from you? Of course he had no answer. Overall, Organisciak showed absolutely no respect or support for us parents that evening (or, in my opinion, throughout this entire process), and as I stated previously, he was smug and condescending throughout the time that I was at the meeting.
I just wanted to THANK YOU for your diligence and investigative reporting. I feel that you are the only true advocate for us parents and you are a well-needed lightening rod to keep pressure on Organisciak and the Bd of Ed.
A Concerned Jefferson Parent
I addressed this "considered the source" line from Organisciak at the Board of Education meeting the next night.
I address this Jefferson parent in the email below, asking permission to publish the letter which was then granted.
What you experienced at the meeting is Standard Operating Procedure for New Rochelle. Whenever they are in trouble they rally the troops. Why were so many people there from the school district? At first people might think that it is nice they were there until you realize they are there to intimidate parents. Staff are asked to be there to "support" the district/principal by which they mean applaud wildly as ringers for the district stand up and give a two-step performance - yes what Martinez did was bad but the school is wonderful, the teachers are wonderful and except for this "isolated incident" all is well. As someone who has attended more board meetings than almost every board member going back to 2008 I have seen this routine many times, in many places. They did it at Jefferson Monday and again at Isaac last night.
There is more to come on this story. The idea that "no one" knew or had concerns is not only ludicrous but will eventually be shown to be untrue as people come forward or are interviewed by the DA/NRPD.
I do appreciate the note. I would ask you to consider allow some modified version of this letter to be published either as an unsigned Letter to the Editor or via a pseudonymous account on Talk of the Sound. There is a tipping point out there on the horizon, I cannot say how far, but we get to the point as more parents make their position known. Some form of this letter on Talk of the Sound may cause a dozen other parents to step forward. Those dozen will bring others forward and so on.
People are afraid, parents and staff, and rightly so because this district has a long and storied history of retaliation but even anonymous but authentic voices can do a lot of good.
Think about it.
New Rochelle's Talk of the Sound
For those of you who share similar concerns about the way the district has treated parents over the past week or who are tired of Schools Superintendent Richard Organisciak "smug and condescending" attitude, consider how adding your voice to those of others can bring us closer to the day where parents and residents get real accountability in our schools.