[OPINION] GOP Board Of Ed Candidates: Democrats Use “Character Assassination” To Distract Voters

Yesterday, “06880” published an “Opinion” piece by Candice Savin. The Democratic 3rd selectwoman and former Board of Education chair said she was “shocked, disappointed and highly concerned” about Republican Board of Ed candidate Camilo Riano, and worried  about what it means “for the future of our top ranked school district.”

Today, Riano and fellow Republican Board of Education candidate Jamie Fitzgerald respond. They say:

Another day, another lengthy character assassination by Westport Democrats or their allies directed at Camilo.

How many thousands of words can be used to express outrage over one single word, “grooming,” that was used to protest inappropriate sexual content put in front of our children? At this point, we believe Westport voters can decide for themselves how they feel about that.

Camilo Riano

The much more important thing to do at this juncture is to turn our attention to what is really going on here, politically. Westport Democrats are clearly panicked about losing their control of our Board of Education.

So they are engaging in character assassination as a distraction from what voters in Westport are actually worried about: how the major initiatives of the Goldstein-controlled board are damaging the quality of education in Westport.

The Goldstein/Phillips campaign sent out their email on books, and fired up their proxies to try to tear Camilo apart as a human being, precisely because they don’t want to have this conversation.

But we do.

The 2 major initiatives championed by our rivals — equity and a strategic plan based around social emotional learning — rely on deeply flawed philosophies that are already degrading the quality of education in Westport.

Goldstein and Phillips try to take credit for a favorable ranking of our school district in a recent survey. We agree that our schools are still benefiting from a foundation of excellence that was laid over many decades. Rome wasn’t built in a day, and it didn’t collapse in a day.

But to borrow a term from the NYU Metro Center, even though we are only at the beginning phases of “dismantling” the educational approaches and strategies that made Westport a leading school district, we are already seeing signs of trouble.

Earlier this year, the administration acknowledged enrollment fell short of expectations as parents are either pulling their children from Westport Public Schools or choosing not to enroll the younger ones in the first place. As we have campaigned, we have in fact heard a great deal of dissatisfaction with the educational experience in our schools, which has led many families to abandon them.

The emerging problems are particularly acute at the elementary level, and Camilo has witnessed this firsthand. Saugatuck Elementary, where Camilo sends his own 4 children, is now ranked 56th in Connecticut, a far cry from number one.

[EDITOR’S NOTE: According to the 2023-24 Niche rankings, Saugatuck Elementary School is ranked #10 out of 575 elementary schools in Connecticut. All other elementary schools are also in the Top Ten: Greens Farms #2, Coleytown #4, Kings Highway #5 and Long Lots #8. Overall, the Westport Public Schools are ranked #1 in the state.] 

Jamie Fitzgerald

It is at the elementary level where the district’s accelerating shift away from traditional academic foundations, in favor of politicized approaches based on establishing racial equity and emotional programming, has already had its greatest impact.

It is worth noting, in the same Niche poll that our competitors cite, Staples High School is in fact not the number one ranked public high school in Connecticut, but is now second to New Canaan High School.

[EDITOR’S NOTE: See note above; for 2023-24, Niche ranked Westport first, New Canaan 2nd.]

The majority of the New Canaan Board of Education is controlled by elected Republicans, who have taken a principled stand against the same highly politicized DEI agenda that their own local activists are trying to foist upon the school system. Do not believe the myth that erasing academic standards and racializing education does anything to enhance student outcomes.

The erosion of rigor, the politicization of the curriculum and the classroom, the preference for emotional manipulation over educational fundamentals — these are real points of differentiation between the two tickets. This is what voters need to be talking about. Even if our rivals just want to engage in partisan antics, we will continue to do so.

We just dropped “Part 2: Equity,” the second installment of our Fireside Chat Series. You can watch it here.

It follows our well received “Part 1: Introductions,” which provides background on who we really are as candidates and parents in the community, available here.

We urge Westport voters to watch these videos.

Follow us at https://www.facebook.com/fitzgeraldandrianoforboe for more episodes and other useful content.

There are real substantive issues in this election, and the stakes could not be higher. Let’s call it quits on the political posturing and have these important discussions.

46 responses to “[OPINION] GOP Board Of Ed Candidates: Democrats Use “Character Assassination” To Distract Voters

  1. At this morning’s TEAM meeting, an audience member asked First Selectwoman Jennifer Tooker if she supported Camilo Riano’s candidacy. She said she did not. So I guess it’s not just Democrats who have their doubts. 

    • Irene Syomichev

      Why everyone holds Jen Tooker as a hostage every election cycle, local or federal one?!!! Grow up, people. She does a tremendous job as First Selectwoman. Marpe and her were always a better choice for Westport than their opponents. 

    • With all due respect, Jen Tooker is a RINO and should have no hope for reelection, as her constituents on both sides of the aisle are beyond disappointed with the job she is doing. As an unaffiliated voter who has voted for many Democrats in the past, Camilo and Jamie have my vote.

      • Irene Syomichev

        Lexi, the other option Steinberg/Savin was much worse in my humble opinion than Tooker/Moore.

        • Yep – she won (barely) because she was the lesser evil. Here’s to hoping that EITHER party puts out better candidates the next time around.

  2. Irene Syomichev

    It is not all about the banned books, Tony. The level of education tanks in WPS. More kids have tutors now. I hired one too two years ago because teachers stopped teaching chemistry/physics/biology fundamentals and my child who was in Staples then was learning it the hard way. Thanks God, parents in Westport have money to afford tutoring and keep the ranking of the district up, right? And if you think I am an exception then let me tell you the secret – I am not. Many of my friends complain but not on the social media or to BoE, unfortunately.
    SEL not working either. If your child while being in the elementary school feels uncomfortable being exposed to men in tight dance shorts and you address this issue with the Superintendent and BoE, you either get a dead silence in response (Mr. Scarice) or answer that other schools do it too (Ms. Goldstein).  This is a personal example too.
    Instead of concentrating on words and throwing dirt at Republican candidates, I personally would love to hear logical and constructive debate and deep and thoughtful questions and arguments from Democratic leadership of BoE, from Ms. Savin, Ms. Mechanic and others who disagrees with Mr. Riano and Ms. Fitzgerald  and doing exactly the opposite for the last few days here and at Westport Journal. Give me as a voter facts why Goldstein and her running mate better choice. I don’t need the emotional hysterics from supporters of DTC candidates and proof that Ms. Goldstein is a better babysitting candidate in this race. 

    • I’m certainly not trying to argue with you here, but to this point Mr Riano has pretty much fit the definition of a single-issue candidate (call it, broadly, culture grievance). If he wants to gain a substantial number of votes, he also will need to do a better job of defining his candidacy.

      Secondly (to respond to your other comment), what single good thing has Jen Tooker done as FS? The Parker-Harding situation has been a debacle. The Long Lots situation has been a debacle. Seemingly everything her Parks & Rec head does is a mess. Has she made any proposals to deal with the traffic mess. She effectively does photo ops. I can’t think of anything that she has done that has made Westport better, in the slightest.

      Finally, to address Mr Riano’s inquiry in his statement, people are worked up about his use of the word “groomers” because it is both inaccurate and inflammatory. If he doesn’t know what the definition of “sexual grooming” is, then it makes everything else he says on the topic less legitimate. We get it – he thinks that certain books are inappropriate for the school library. But this is a matter on which people clearly disagree. That he’s motivated to run for BOE makes him little different from many other candidates for local office who are inspired by single issues. Good for him. But his resorting to character assassination was completely wrong. That it is coming back to haunt him now is his own fault.
      Chris Grimm

      • Irene Syomichev

        About Tooker. I’ve been a Westport resident for 17 years now. Traffic mess was not Jen’s doing or easy to be solved considering the inflow of new residents, local road projects and bridge renovation. She is trying her best. I once took Cub Scouts to meet with Mr. Joseloff who he was the First Selectman. The scope of responsibilities he described was enormous and we as public often don’t see it. Payment btw is much smaller than Superintendent. In all my 17 years here I saw three solid First Selectman/woman and zero competent Superintendents, sadly.
        As for the BoE candidates. I want an open debate with public present where they can discuss policies and not word choices. I have a USSR upbringing and I understand Mr. Riano’s lack of diplomacy while addressing issues. In the culture that I grew up in nobody cared about feelings of others but rather about the efficiency of your message and the fastest way to find the solution or improve the situation. For me it is clear, it has been a cultural clash between Mr. Riano and BoE. We can either concentrate on the word choices or on the issues at hand – academic excellency is nowhere to be seen in WPS without private tutoring involvement. The biggest clientele that the company I hired for my son was from Westport. 

        • “Zero competent Superintendents” – I couldn’t disagree more strongly. I’ve lived here for 53 years, I went through the schools here, as well as my daughter. I am extremely proud of Mr. Scarice. Education is not simply about spitting out facts and making loads of money. Learning to understand one another and find ways to have respectful differences is very important. Being kind, for cryin’ out loud. In Westport has no “average” kids. They’re either gifted, or the have special needs. The rise in tutors has to do with this. And helicopter parenting. You didn’t see that 25-30 years ago. And using a horrifically damming word is unacceptable. And it’s hugely inflammatory. In my opinion it reveals poor judgment at the very least.

        • Irene, Westport had a traffic problem before Ms Tooker was born!

  3. I think you may have been given a faulty Niche info. Westport is in fact still the #1 District in the state (2024 rank) and in the top 20 in the ENTIRE country.

    That fact can be confirmed here: https://www.niche.com/k12/d/westport-school-district-ct/

    So, if that is what you refer to as “Goldstein-controlled board are damaging the quality of education in Westport”, please sign me up!

    • Irene Syomichev

      Sue, let’s pat ourselves on the back and disregard the facts and do nothing. It is all paid by the parents money. Wall Street rocks, great that they still pay bonuses.

      • Irene, all I’m saying is that if someone is going to quote “facts”, they should actually be the real facts.

        Fact is Westport is the #1 district in CT.
        Fact is Westport is in the top 20 districts in the country.
        Fact is Lee Goldstein was an excellent PTA President .
        Fact is Lee Goldstein & Neil Phillips are excellent BOE leaders.
        Fact is they have my (and many, many others) vote.

        Facts is facts.

        • Irene Syomichev

          Dan Woog, this is my last comment here. Scouts honor.
          Sue, Niche is just a rating tool and has its flaws. Staples being #1 is not a fact but Niche’s opinion based on the test scores that are influenced by extensive tutoring.
          Your statements about Lee and Neil are your personal opinion and not FACT. If words choice matter a lot for many in here then I insist on the fact that your statements are not the facts. :))

    • Stephanie Frankel

      Bingo! Sign me up to! Let’s keep Westport highly ranked! We do not need to be ranked at the bottom like Florida bc they want kids there to be mean, cruel, not know real history, admire evil leaders, and not think for themselves! Camilo is simply following Florida Moms for Liberty rhetoric. He is just a follower, not a leader that we need. Sorry if this is not nice, but, camilo is not nice. Read his articles in the Todd Wood publication that he writes for. He is not a kind man, and does not really love Westport so much

  4. Chris, I think we have finally found something we can agree on – disappointment with the First Selectwoman! Amen! If it’s not a photo op, she isn’t interested. But I have to disagree with you on Camilo. He is running for BOE, his “single issue” is our schools and the education of our youth, and that’s how it should be. If he were running for RTM, I agree that he would need to expand his horizon. But when it comes to our schools, I would take Camilo any day over Lee who doesn’t even have kids in the district. She could literally run WPS into the ground and it would be no skin off her nose. It consistently feels like she is trying to follow trends and push agendas. And since she’s cool with kids reading smut, I probably would NOT ask her to babysit, either.

    • Ah, just when we were getting along. “since she’s cool with kids reading smut, I probably would NOT ask her to babysit.”

      This kind of remark is… childish. Pretend the book issue is a complex one rather than just railing about it – some disagree with you about the books in the banned book display and none of the ones that most bother SOME people were required reading. Why do you think so many are alienated by Mr Riano’s rhetoric (and that of the few others who shared his view in the book debate)? I don’t object to the debate. The debate was had and the matter settled. Now Mr Riano is running for BOE – good for him, I say with all sincerity. But it is like you can’t help yourselves but fall into mindless, inflammatory rhetoric. Do better.
      Chris Grimm

    • Strphanie Frankel

      What issue is he running on besides parroting Moms for Liberty and Ron DeSantis? Westport is already ranked at thr top! Why drag it down?

    • Stephanie Frankel

      She wants kids to read “smut”? What does that even mean? Is she telling kids what books to check out in the library? Are you in charge of what kids can and can not check out? Are you the parent of all kids in the district?

  5. Westport schools should be where our children go to get a quality education. There is no place in our schools or on our school board for ignorance, bigotry or division. 

    The authors state that democrats are “panicked” that they might lose control of the school board. They should be. And so should every other Westport resident. 

    People come to Westport in large part for the quality of our schools, and the value of Westport real estate is a clear reflection of that demand. Placing people on the school board who do not recognize the value of diverse ideas and prefer that our children remain ignorant to the realities of our world, will significantly undermine the quality of education in Westport. And along with it, every resident’s property value. 

    The authors are right about one thing, that Rome wasn’t built in a day. What they failed to mention is that it burned down much more rapidly. 

  6. It would be wonderful to have debate and discussion over the best way to grow and teach our students and work with the teachers in the district to do so. For instance, I have heard that the RULER program can make disciplining consistently disruptive students a more difficult process which can be challenging for the students in the class who are being overshadowed. There’s always room for improvement in education techniques and all of the teachers and administrators I have spoken to in Westport are on board with learning and improving through time as the world learns more.

    Unfortunately, the note above is not being thoughtful about issues, but instead relies on lies, scare tactics and the most horrible and stupid parts of the right-wing ecosystem to push the agenda of grievance and fear (which won’t help any of our students as they grow up).

    The main thing I learned from the above op-ed is that Ms. Fitzgerald is as reactionary and wrongheaded as Mr. Riano and equally thin-skinned to believe that character assassination means people telling you your ideas are terrible.

    And also unfortunately, the two of them are not out of the mainstream for the current Republican party. Even in a town like Westport which prizes facts, logic and the arts, the local Republican party decided that this was the best pair of people to nominate. Are we going to be looking at textbooks soon where we look at a balanced look at slavery including the benefits for the slaves (a la Florida)? Probably if Mr. Riano and Ms. Fitzgerald and the rest of the Westport RTC get their way.

    I think I speak for most Westporters when I say… ugh. Is there time for a third-party candidate still?

  7. Thanks to candidates of both parties for putting their views in writing. My take is that this piece has quite a bit of zero sum bias. To state the obvious: “equity and a strategic plan based around social emotional learning rely on deeply flawed philosophies” is merely the Fitzgerald/riano opinion. Is there room for another view: that these philosophies, like any, are a mixed bag, and that things they stand for — emotional learning and cultural sensitivity – are poised to *enhance* more traditional learning rather than supplant it? I watched the fireside chat. If we really do value equality for students after high school, then K12—especially K5—seems like the place to give under-privileged students more opportunities. We can charge up the rhetoric all we want, but members of a society aren’t equal unless they have equal opportunities to succeed.

    I couldn’t find any evidence in this piece (or any other part of the heated BOE discourse recently)—even anecdotal evidence—that “erosion of rigor” and “emotional manipulation” are taking place in Westport schools. My read of the pointed language, like the many straw men in this piece, is that its aim is to distract from a central implication of its position: equality is not as important as keeping privileged kids ahead.

  8. The accusation that the “Democrats” and “Leftists” are going on a program of personal attacks and character assassination provokes a few of questions for Mr. Riano based on his attack on the Board of Education and Superintendent Scarise.
          1. What is your precise definition of “grooming”?
          2. You have made extremely upsetting accusations of Superintendent Scarise “grooming” children for all sorts of sexual and predatory perversion. Is this not a personal attack and clear character assassination?
          3. What is your evidence of Superintendent Scarise’s intentions, planning, direct action and conspiracy to prepare for and sexually abuse Westport’s children?
          Beyond defamation of character and arguing the much debated example of books and free speech that you consider unsuitable for students—and which should be banned, contrary to the 1st Amendment, where is your proof that justifies your vile personal attacks on Superintendent Scarise as a child groomer?
          At your suggestion, I watched the very offensive SSN video in which the performance of the beautifully written musical lyrics attesting to becoming the “true and authentic you” establishes the right for everyone to be who they want to be and say. Should that preclude you from being who you want to be, or are, based upon what you say? Do you find the lyrics objectionable? Or is it the lead female singer with the beard? Do you perceive some of the characters to be part of the non-heterosexual community that you loathe? I believe Oscar Wilde wrote about that in The Importance of Being Ernest. Of course, Shakespeare must have had some thoughts on the matter. Should we ban the introduction to Japanese arts and culture because male Kabuki performers play the roles of female characters in full kimono? You don’t have to look too far into the bible for offensive references. Would you like wrap all these words in brown paper and cover performances with a thick white curtain, too? 

  9. “…Goldstein-controlled board…”

    Just hits me wrong. Maybe it’s my underlying (and constantly reconfirmed) assumptions about Republicans. Maybe it’s years of constant dog whistles.

    Local races like this shouldn’t feel so triggering.

  10. Mr. Riano, I can’t help but notice that your YouTube videos have comments off – not a great way to encourage public discourse.  I assume you don’t want someone pointing out that Equity in the WPS DEI context DOES NOT mean “equality of outcome.”  That is something you picked up in the right wing crank-o-sphere.  Your entire video, like your candidacy, is a big fat red herring. Shame on the Westport GOP for your nomination.

  11. Camilo Riano and Jamie Fitzgerald are clearly dedicated to Westport’s education system’s well-being. Riano’s commitment to protecting children from inappropriate content and Fitzgerald’s focus on maintaining academic standards resonate with many in our community.

    As a Roman Catholic Latina Christian, I’ve had the privilege of enjoying our beautiful hamlet here in Westport for over 16 years. I don’t quite understand the strong reactions to Camilo’s use of the term “groomer” at the BOE meeting.

    Camilo used the term “groomer” figuratively to express concerns about materials that might attempt to manipulate or influence young minds in ways that contradict our deeply held religious beliefs. It’s important to recognize that these concerns arise from a genuine care for our children’s well-being and a desire to uphold our faith’s values.

    I’d like to emphasize that resorting to emotionally charged terms and personal attacks like “Nazi” or “Racist” in response to Camilo, Jaime, and others with strong traditional beliefs may not be the most constructive approach.

    Our school board should represent the diverse opinions and viewpoints of our community, as advocated by many writers here. I strongly encourage Westport voters to carefully consider these candidates and their thoughtful approaches to real issues in our education system. Let’s move beyond politics and engage in meaningful discussions about the future of education in our community.

    By the way US News and World Report ranks Staples at 56. We can do better academically . https://www.usnews.com/education/k12/connecticut/saugatuck-elementary-school-247515?fbclid=IwAR0EQeDpEobBaZJJUaeR3ojOWQyyU87XYvAtH8GSH58WsecPIy67qG0u-OE

    • Stephanie Frankel

      Wow! He used the term “groomer” figuratively to describe Scarice and our teachers! How kind! How supportive!
      This has got to stop. The book bannings are compared to when the Nazis threw books about gays, trangenders and all that they hated and disagreed with into a fire. I did not hear anyone call Camilo a Nazi .
      I agree with you that we have to accept diversity; that means diverse books too! We all come from different religions here in Westport. One religious value does not superceed another, nor do they control a public school.

  12. I’d like to offer two clarifications. Firstly, those deeply held relgious beliefs are indeed my own, which is why Camilo and Jaime’s message resonates with me. Secondly, in reference to my earlier statement about rankings, according to the U.S. News and World Report, Saugatuck Elementary ranks 56th, and Staples High School is at 240th. In my opinion, we should aim to improve these rankings. I have concerns that the focus on SEL diverts attention and resources from academic instruction.

    • Stephanie Frankel

      Thank you for clarifying your own religion and your own value set. Schools are not churches or temples.

      Who told you that SEL drains funding from academics?

  13. School rankings are great to read about. In terms of my property value, the well-being of children, the betterment of society, all that stuff: the higher the better I suppose.

    What is more important to me is what my children are learning. Are they learning to be the next generation of scientist, artist, engineer, architect, educator, performer? Are they learning to be respectful, considerate, caring, contributing members of society? Are they learning anything at all? This is way more important to me than a ranking in Niche, or Newsweek, or Sports Illustrated or anything.

    When we learned how far behind other children our own children were after 4 years in WPS, we took them out. Catching up in 4th grade is tough, but after 12th it is nearly impossible. They had great teachers, they got high grades, what gave?

    Maybe it was their excellent teachers being distracted from teaching by endless infiltration of “new ideas”: SEL, CRSE, RULER, DEI, … Each requiring hours and days of training. Each requiring a “new way of thinking and acting”. Each requiring perpetual administrative oversight and coaching. Each taking time away from the teachers’ busy schedules and their ability to teach math, science, history (good, bad, and ugly), language, social studies.
    Evidence abounds that districts that have adopted the “new stuff” at the expense of the “old stuff” are failing left and right (see CA, NY, Baltimore, …). I see no evidence at all that the “new stuff” has improved any district anywhere – not in terms of Niche ratings, not in terms of creating harmonious societies, not in terms of children actually knowing things.

    When I read this letter, and watch the videos, I see candidates who seem to want what I want in terms of where the priorities of the district lie. Ad hominem attacks on them notwithstanding.

    • Stephanie Frankel

      What areas were your children performing poorly in?
      New stuff vs old stuff?
      Where are you getting your facts and statistics?
      I have taught SEL. It did not drain my time from teaching academics. In fact, it helped with classroom management to INCREASE academic performance and sustain attention!

  14. Beautifully said David

    • Stephanir Frankel

      Look at the rankings of Florida public schools that have tossed out : DEI, SEL, books they disagree with, diversity, gays, trans, the teaching of compassion, empathy, kindness, acceptance, tolerance, and the real horrors of slavery and American history… They are ranked at the BOTTOM!
      Westport does not want to move in that direction, I gurantee you that. We will see…

  15. Michael Mossman

    The level of vitriol in the above comments are but a foreshadowing of what we could expect if the likes of Riano are elected to the BOE (or theRTM): Culture wars on an endless loop. Absolute gridlock just like the circus in Washington. Just vote for civil, intelligent, bi-partisan people who are focused on education, not MAGA talking points. 

  16. As a fellow Saugatuck Elementary parent, I thought it would be useful to evaluate the concerns Mr. Riano cited in last year’s letter to the BoE and Superintendent Scarice with my own view on the issues, to determine if he shares my values about what matters (or doesn’t matter) to a child’s educational experience. Here’s a sampling of concerns Mr. Riano had, versus my thoughts on the matters:
    – On Wednesday, June 15th, SES celebrated You-Be-You Day, where children were encouraged by their teachers to wear shirts with the LGTB colors and to be proud of what makes them different by writing down a list of characteristics that could include physical traits and information about their families, such as their religious preferences, their national origins, or the languages spoken at home. [Comment: You-Be-You Day is great. Learning about people’s differences is interesting and enriching, and gives you a greater sense of appreciation for other cultures, backgrounds, etc. that you may otherwise not have known about.]
    – In her remarks, [Principal Messler] presents the celebration of LGTB Pride Month as a celebration of “every one being their true and authentic self”, and of the “inclusion of every one.” She talks about our “many identities”, such as being “an artist” or a “soccer player”, and how our identities are shaped by “our ethnicity, our religion, our family, our cultural traditions, and our passions.” [Comment: I love this message.]
    – Then, [Principal Messler] introduces the rainbow flag as a symbol of Pride Month and how it represents “pride, hope, and equality for every one,” and serves “to remind us of being good friends and allies…” Amazingly, she manages to do this without mentioning even once the words gay, lesbian, transgender, or bisexual which describe the communities that actually created the rainbow flag! [Comment: Completely agree with how Principal Messler framed the rainbow flag. Whether or not she mentions the LGBT origin is somewhat irrelevant to me – fine that she didn’t but would also have been fine if she did.]
    – Asking our children to publicly reveal information about their families and backgrounds, or their personal traits and characteristics, and parading them around the school looking for differences that they might have in common, is as un-American as it gets. [Comment: As mentioned above, I actually like this and think it’s valuable for children to learn about their differences. Maybe others might have a different viewpoint. But Un-American? Seriously?]
    – And, Mr. Scarice…when are you going to STOP the ‘child grooming’ of our children? [Comment: This, as has been stated in previous threads, completely crosses the line. Falsely accusing our Superintendent of facilitating “actions or behaviors used to establish an emotional connection with a minor…to lower the child’s inhibitions with the objective of sexual abuse”…is completely outrageous and frankly…yep, un-American.

    There were previous comments essentially asking people to look past the “words” and at the issues. Well, to me the above are a perfect example of the issues. I clearly have a different set of values than Mr. Riano when it comes to my kids educational experience and thus won’t be voting for him or Mrs. Fitzgerald for Board of Ed. And I suspect many other parents in the district feel the same way.

  17. Riano assinates his own character every time he speaks.

  18. Stephanie Frankel

    The only thing I would be panicked about would be our number one ranked school district in CT turning into a Florida Moms for Liberty/ Ron DeSantis district, but, that will not happen here in Westport. Here in Westport, educated parents will not allow conspiracy theories and words like “ groomer” to attack our amazing teachers, our wonderful superintentendent, or our children. Hate and conspiracy theories have no home on our school board. Let’s keep Westport Schools highly ranked as we already are, no need to drag us into the Florida pit.

  19. I don’t see how we can have this discussion without a single reference to the First Amendment

    • I specifically mentioned it.

    • Larry, no one has yet said, as far as I know, that this ass hole does not have the right to say what he says. Folks is is just slack jawed at the fascist, ignorant and destructive stuff that he does say…no First Amendment rights have either been infringed or even bitched about.

  20. Stephanie Frankel

    Florida are some of the lowest ranked districts in the nation. Now that Ronnie has focused on taking away: empathy, compassion, tolerance, acceptance, kindness and the real history of slavery and the awful parts of American history, the school districts will rank even lower and have more incidents of bullying. Oh, and add to that telling people not to ger vaccinated. Really intelligent culture war tactics going on down there where white supremacists are welcomed and march.

  21. Stephanie Frankel

    One more thing Tom: kids are not forced to check out certain books from the library. You do not control what my kids read, and I do not control what your kids read or check out. Those are REAL parental rights!
    Now, how about talking about guns which are the REAL issue that kill our kids in school mass shootings?

  22. they went to Florida for weather.

  23. the world including 06880 is a shit show

  24. Michael Petrino

    here is a ranking of states by quality of education.

    A bit different than the rankings advanced by angry Westport parents. https://www.usnews.com/news/best-states/rankings/education

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