NAACP calls for BoE President to step down

The NAACP is calling for Diana Carpio, School Board President, to immediately step down from the Board of Education. Her statements in The Hour Newspaper create divisiveness among the BOE and the Norwalk Community. Ms. Carpio was elected to represent our families and her comments show that she is taking part in closed door discussions to undermine an African American administrator based on information she is getting directly from the superintendent.

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It is also obvious from the article that some of the board members were not privy to what is happening with Mr. Thomas and have been excluded from discussions with the superintendent on this matter. Ms. Carpio’s comments and actions are unprofessional, demeaning, defaming, and obviously biased towards Mr. Thomas. As a life-long resident of Norwalk, I have NEVER witnessed a board member speak about a personnel matter and publicly side with a superintendent.

Ms. Carpio’s comments on a personnel matter have interfered with Mr. Thomas’ due process rights. From her comments, it appears that the district and the executive committee are engaged in a campaign to push Mr. Thomas out of NPS. Ms. Carpio is setting the board up for more lawsuits that continue to cost taxpayers money. Her responsibility as an elected BOE member is to represent the community and not the superintendent.

The NAACP will monitor this situation and take the necessary steps to ensure that the BOE operates with transparency and not in the dark. I encourage all of you board members to do the right thing and replace Diana Carpio immediately. Her actions are a direct reflection of you.

Brenda Penn-Williams
NAACP President

Editor’s Note: Previous coverage of this issue can be found here and here.


9 responses to “NAACP calls for BoE President to step down”

  1. John O’Neill

    While I’m certainly not a fan of Estrella, and I think Carpio is way over her head as point person at BOE, I find the above misguided.
    Thomas is well thought of. But let’s be honest (Is that possible?) In the current climate we live in, the administration is certainly not going
    to randomly suspend a minority administrator without thinking long and hard about it. I would like to see NAACP’s outrage directed at our
    elected officials who have screwed our community due to lack of effective funding from Hartford. I would like to hear outrage over the
    lack of academic success and why that’s occurring…I recently viewed the attached — I’d recommend it for all classes in our school systems.


  2. Erica DePalma

    While I cannot speak for Diana, I understood her comments as reinforcing for the public that the Superintendent has followed protocol on this case. Everyone involved in the investigation is entitled to and protected under due process and the actions of Central Office and the BOE are carefully guided by Counsel and sometimes by outside agencies who are leading a case. While I don’t have any information on this investigation, I sat in on many cases led by outside agencies and many cases that pre-dated anyone serving on the BOE or currently employed in Central office. In my personal experience, investigations dragged out due to backlogs still plaguing agencies and the courts following the COVID shutdown. Community members often demand a swift and transparent resolution, unaware of how expediting any aspect of a case may compromise the rights of the parties involved and that acquiescing to external demands for information may bias outcomes. The role of the BOE Chair in any investigation is simply to assure the public that the BOE’s Executive Committee has been advised by the District’s attorneys that protocol is being followed. The court of public opinion is a liability to our community and only serves to undermine the legal rights of everyone involved.

    1. kathleen conlin

      I think we all should be questioning the shut down of our Norwalk Courthouse. Covid no longer a pandemic. There is no tracking of cases and mandates are minimal. Business as usual in the private sector and at the State House. Its almost laughable that this one entity if forbidden to go back to normal when everything has been back to normal for some time. Back logging and Stamford Courthouse can not take all these cases. The reason we had a courthouse in Norwalk.

  3. walter o’reilly

    The NAACP is calling for her to step down because she didn’t condemn the administrative suspension of a minority? That about all I get out of that. Everyone; teachers, parents, BOE members, students, etc, should not be speaking on a personnel matter they know nothing about. Just because you like someone, or because of the color of their skin, does not mean this person did no wrong and should be returned to work. Let the process play out and let’s hope it’s not a very serious matter, otherwise many people will have egg on their faces. Let be patient, and professional, people.

  4. Brenda Penn-Williams

    John, thank you for your comments.

    Erica, please look up the definitions of the words biased and unbiased and then pass the definitions on to those you referenced.

  5. Jay Kressleman

    The problem is the current central office. A few years ago, I remember reading that the principal and a few assistants at McMahon were put on leave and then brought back. No news about why they were out but their reputations suffered in the news. All we have now is suspicion. I don’t recall any other central office conducting months-long investigations on the advice of counsel.

    1. Erica DePalma

      The Department of Education has reported a record number of complaints in process post-COVID. The volume is not specific to Norwalk, the current Administration or BOE. It’s a national trend.

  6. Iliana Zuniga

    It is deeply concerning to witness a private citizen, who has selflessly dedicated recent years to serving the community, being targeted and harassed by an organization and its leader, who are supposed to champion the advancement of people of color. Diana, as a Latina woman, undoubtedly falls under this category. Rather than facing constant bullying, it would be far more constructive to see the chair of the NAACP genuinely engage in community service, instead of intimidating a fellow woman of color who has tirelessly worked for the benefit of our children. It is disheartening to observe such hostility between women of color, rather than efforts to collaborate and uplift one another. Having been a member of the Norwalk NAACP chapter, I have firsthand experience with Ms. Penn Williams’ leadership style, and I am confident in distinguishing between the true activist and the bully in this scenario.

  7. maria Iacono-Maldonado

    Anyone who knows Diana knows that these claims are baseless. Everyone up in arms about the principal being suspended don’t seem to understand that there is no right for the public to know what is going on during an ONGOING investigation to protect both parties involved. If you or your family were involved, would you want the entire city to know the ins and outs before the entire investigation is completed? The fact that it’s come to these accusations is disgraceful.

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