The Norwalk Federation of Teachers is engaged in difficult work with families and students every day, and we need an effective focused Board of Education to do this work successfully. We have serious concerns about the impact of Mr. Barbis’ continued presence on the board. He disparaged and dismissed respected leaders of our community. His email is offensive, vulgar, culturally insensitive, and perceived by many as racist.
Our teachers are held accountable to the Connecticut Code of Professional Responsibility for Educators. This professional code notes the responsibility to “create a culture that encourages purposeful collaboration and dialogue among all stakeholders; Promote and maintain ongoing communication among all stakeholders; and Provide effective leadership to ensure continuous focus on student achievement.” Teachers are each required to “Conduct himself or herself as a professional realizing that his or her actions reflect directly upon the status and substance of the profession…” The teacher, administrator code of ethics, and also the one that was recently signed by members of the Norwalk Board all adhere to a fundamental belief that the student is the foremost reason for our professional efforts.
At this time, our school community seeks a new Superintendent, and we seek to attract an increasingly diverse workforce. At this time, our families need to trust in the school system’s innovative and experimental programs, and the taxpayers at large are being asked to divert an increasing portion of city funds to improve our school system. At this particular time, we are confronted by ugly, divisive, emotional responses to challenges by Mr. Barbis, who is supposed to be a standard bearer of our school system as a Board member. We cannot keep our children at the focus of our efforts with the intolerance demonstrated in his words. Our teachers ask for better. Our children deserve better. Norwalk deserves better than this. Mr. Barbis should resign.