Northeast Queens leaders rip Carranza over claim of ‘setup’ at heated Bayside meeting

Screenshot via YouTube video

The saga of the CEC 26 meeting continued on social media following Schools Chancellor Richard Carranza’s comments at an education-related press conference Tuesday morning.

At the mayor’s NYC Community Schools event, Carranza called the Jan. 16 meeting “a setup” and said “outside agitators” were to blame for cutting the meeting short. The chancellor walked out of the hourlong meeting with 20 minutes to spare after impassioned members in the audience demanded Carranza address sexual assault and violence at M.S. 158.

“I was in that community and when the CEC president could not get control of that meeting because there were agitators from outside of that district who were brought in, in vans, because I saw that when I was arriving. They were brought in from outside of that district to agitate and she could not get control of that meeting with five minutes left. At which point I got up and left. I was there,” Carranza said.

But CEC 26 issued a statement saying that the “chancellor chose to end the meeting abruptly due to what he felt as ‘safety concerns.’” In the statement, the CEC also criticized Carranza for failing to completely address school safety issues.

At Tuesday’s press conference, Carranza said that the individuals who were “shouting out questions” concerning students’ alleged abuse was a violation of the students’ rights.

“I’m an educator, I will not allow that to happen and violate that student’s rights. It was a setup and I will talk to parents. I will meet with parents but I will not be set up. Especially when that meeting couldn’t be controlled,” Carranza said.

Congresswoman Grace Meng and Senator John Liu, who were part of the group that had written a letter demanding answers for the M.S. 158 incidents, took to Twitter criticizing the chancellor’s latest comments.

Carranza responded to these criticisms saying that he had personally spoken to Meng and Liu concerning the issues happening at M.S. 158.

At the press conference, the chancellor said that school leadership, including the superintendent and the executive superintendent, were working closely with the community to resolve these issues. He added that there was an ongoing investigation at M.S. 158 involving the Special Commissioner of Investigation (SCI) for the New York City School District. The SCI is independent of the Department of Education and works to resolve issues involving verbal harassment, physical contact or sexual abuse.

“I know people want to know hook, line and sinker what’s happened [but] we cannot comment. What I can tell you is that the superintendent is actively involved in supporting that school community. The executive superintendent is actively involved. We have an additional, not only Title IX, but we have crisis counselors that are there, social workers, a full-blown response helping that community with the issues. There’s a lot happening there and we’re working closely with that school community,” Carranza said.

The officials have requested that Carranza reschedule a meeting about public safety for the parents in District 26. The DOE commented that they are “exploring options for additional meetings.”