Thursday, April 5, 2007


April 5, 2007 (GBN News): A potential confrontation was averted early today when 12 members of the Chancellor’s Parent Advisory Committee (CPAC) were released by the N.Y. City Department of Education after being held captive at Tweed Courthouse for over 24 hours. The committee members had gone to the DOE headquarters for a meeting, but apparently made a wrong turn down a restricted hallway and were immediately seized by school safety officers. The captives were the subject of intense negotiations between the DOE and those attempting to obtain their release.

The Tweed Courthouse has been disputed territory since Mayor Bloomberg took control of the city schools in 2002. CPAC, an elected group of parents which is supposed to advise the Chancellor on educational issues, is technically a part of the DOE and meets at the Courthouse. However, the capture of the committee members is only the latest in a series of frustrations as CPAC attempts to gain access to officials and information at Tweed.

During the negotiations, Chancellor Klein and Mayor Bloomberg had been intransigent, insisting that DOE territory was intentionally violated. “We welcome parent involvement”, the Chancellor stated, “but Tweed is not their place. If they have a problem, they should see their parent coordinators”. Mayor Bloomberg added, “We value our parents, but they should be at PTA bake sales, not trespassing on our property. Tweed is for business people, who know best how to run the schools.”

Upon the release, a statement was issued by Chancellor Klein’s office, stating, “While we are entitled to put the trespassers on trial, the DOE has pardoned these CPAC members and gives their release to the parents of New York City schoolchildren as a gift.”

However, while the release of the captives was portrayed by the Chancellor as a magnanimous gesture, it appears that there may have been a more practical reason for the change of heart. According to a source at the DOE, with the recent elimination of the school lunch budget by corporate “turnaround” consultants Alvarez and Marsal, the DOE was unable to obtain funding for the detainees’ meals. Apparently, even the DOE was unwilling to run afoul of the Geneva Convention by “not meeting standards” for care and feeding of prisoners.

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