NORWALK, Conn. – John Mosby has filed a complaint against the Norwalk Board of Education alleging discriminatory behavior, specifically complaining that he was asked to show identification when he entered Brien McMahon High School in May.
Mosby, an African American, said in a July 10 complaint to the Connecticut Commission on Human Rights and Opportunities (CHRO) that white people were not asked to show identification at Brien McMahon on May 19, and that he doesn’t believe other schools ask people to show identification to get in. He goes on to allege, as he often does at BoE meetings, discrimination in hiring practices and that schools that have predominantly white populations have gotten expensive repairs while Briggs High School, with a predominantly black/Hispanic population, has not. He also states, as he has at BoE meetings, that the Board has violated its policies regarding public comments and how they are recorded in minutes; and that “the union contract” was drafted in an unfair manner.
“The allegations are even more ridiculous than we’ve come to expect from Mr. Mosby,” BoE Chairman Mike Lyons said. “I’m sure – as with every other complaint filed by every member of the Mosby family – they will prove unfounded and be dismissed. It is a shame that valuable city and school resources have to be wasted on this unending stream of frivolous complaints.”
Mosby is the father of BoE member Shirley Mosby, who was at the center of a complaint filed with the NAACP of disparate treatment of minority women on the BoE last summer. That complaint remains unresolved, with Mosby and her fellow filers refusing to release evidence. John Mosby’s son, Alvin Mosby, has also filed complaints, which were dismissed.
John Mosby’s complaint was almost entirely rewritten three days after he filed it, an amendment dated July 13. His first complaint states that he lives at a Post Office box and incorrectly gives the address of City Hall as “125 Maine St.,” two errors that were corrected in the amendment.
Mosby’s amended complaint, minus some formatting:
- “On or about April 22, 2015, as a grandparent, citizens and community activist I spoke at the board of education’s regular board meeting during public comments. A white mom spoke at that same meeting and other white citizens with similar complainants about various schools from other school parent spoke as well.
- “On or about May 19, 2015, I went to visit the Brien McMahon High School in Norwalk, Connecticut to speak to the head custodian at 6:30 a.m. On that day the door was open, myself and other white, Caucasian individuals entered into the school freely without question. There were no security guards at the station.
- “When the security guard arrived at her workstation she called me and asked me what I wanted. The guard informed me that I had to sign in and provide my license.
- “Upon information and belief, other schools (18) in the Norwalk system do not require individuals to provide their licenses upon entry to their schools.
- “I was singled out and asked to sign in and provide my license.
- “I questioned the security guard on why she needed or wanted to see my license and not the other Caucasian individuals, and reminded her that she and the school was in violation of the Board’s policy, 1250.
- “On May 23, 2013, the Board Policy 1250 was sent out to all 19 building principals concerning the school visitation and sign in policy.
- “All guards were aware of the policy that does require all visitors provide a license and other requirements as well.
- “Furthermore, board policy provides that all schools need to be equal in terms of how their policies are enforced.
- “The school principal and security guard are in violation of not enforcing the Board’s policy 1250 at Brien McMahon High School, when all other 18 schools follow the Board’ s policy 1250.
- “I complained to the Board of Education regarding this policy, but nothing was done about my complaint.
- “I feel that this policy unfairly targets African-American individuals. Furthermore, I feel that this one action, in a series of many incidents which suggests a pattern and practice of discriminatory conduct on the part of the Norwalk Board of Education.
- “I feel that I was retaliated against due to the prior complaints I have filed, including but limited to the CHRO complaints.
- “Additionally, on or about June 16, 2015, I attended another school board public meeting. I believe that the Norwalk Board of Education is discriminatory in terms of their hiring practices. Specifically, that white individuals are employed with higher level jobs in the central office; whereas Black and Hispanic individuals are hired in lower level jobs.
- “I have brought up numerous times concerns to the Board of Education of the discriminatory hiring practices; especially the lack of minority teachers.
- “I have brought up numerous times that Briggs High School (Predominantly Black/Hispanic) is in desperate need of repair. In the meantime, numerous other predominately Caucasian schools are consistently being given millions of dollars to improve their buildings.
- “The Board has also violated policy regarding public comments and minutes of how public comments should be summarized in the minutes.
- “Finally, the union agreement was drafted in a way that the workers/retires were unable to see a copy of it prior to it being implemented; affecting the retiree’s. Again, I feel this is both unfair and discriminatory in practice.”
This reporter, a white person, has always been asked to show identification when attempting to get into a Norwalk public school. Visits are infrequent; the last time was a visit to Norwalk High School in September.
Mosby said two weeks ago that a lawsuit would be filed against the Board and the state Department of Education alleging discrimination because the community had not been involved in changes to Briggs High School.
On Tuesday, the Board unanimously approved changing the name of Briggs High School to the Norwalk Pathways Academy at Briggs. This was after Mosby spoke to the Board, again alleging discrimination.
Mosby said that no one from the black community had been invited into the discussion about Briggs. He had a petition signed by 400 people, he said. “Seem like every time we are left out of everything,” Mosby said.
BoE member Migdalia Rivas asked Briggs Principal Marie Allen about outreach efforts.
Allen said there was a governance committee and that meetings about the Briggs turnaround had been open to everyone. Letters were sent to parents and students were asked about renaming the school, she said.