By: Megan McGibney
Community Education Council 16 (CEC16), which serves the public school districts of Crown Heights and parts of Bed-Stuy, has started a social media and letter-writing campaign to demand the removal of Karen Hambright-Glover, principal of P.S. 243, due to numerous allegations of misconduct.
CEC16 made the announcement during a webinar Monday, two weeks after it voted unanimously for her immediate resignation.
Community Education Councils are public bodies that advise on education policy. They are created by state legislature and are responsible for reviewing and evaluating the district's educational programs, approving zoning lines, holding public hearings on certain matters, and more.
CEC16's campaign also will call on the Department of Education to improve the quality of education in School District 16,
The council, during Monday's Zoom meeting, briefed close to 100 attendees on the need for immediate action against Hambright-Glover after years of allegedly verbally abusing and mistreating parents, students and staff at P.S. 243, where she has served as principal for 17 years.
"Principals are given the responsibility to develop, support and promote student achievement,” CEC16 President NeQuan McLean said at the start of the webinar.
“District 16 expects and requires more from those who serve in leadership roles and are entrusted with nurturing the minds of our children," he said. "Choosing to use words and take actions that kill, steal and destroy the hope, desire and dream of children and their families is both unacceptable and irresponsible. District 16 demands better because our children deserve better.
“Just because this is a majority Black and Latinx community that does mean that we deserve less. We can’t continue to talk about equity and access if we don’t fix this.”
Since 2005, P.S. 243 enrollment has declined from 517 students to 182.
In the chat room, Tazin Azad, a member of the education advocacy group Parents for Responsive Equitable Safe Schools (PRESS), wrote: “The lack of action against one problematic principal sends chilling effects across a district.”
Towards the end of the webinar, McLean announced the letter-writing and social media campaign, which will be promoted on CEC16’s social media accounts. The letters will be directed at elected officials. McLean also said he had sent a letter to new Schools Chancellor David C. Banks and that he was in communication with D16 Superintendent Yolanda Martin.
“We don’t do this lightly,” he said. “But we do this because it’s the right thing to do. It’s the right thing for our students and we are holding people responsible for what they signed up to do.”
DOE Deputy Press Secretary Nathaniel Styer told BK Reader that not much had changed since before the holiday break, when the DOE began its investigation into Hambright-Glover.
“We take the allegations being raised by the community very seriously and they are being investigated. Additionally, the superintendent is following up with corresponding supervision,” Styer said.
BK Reader reached out to Hambright-Glover for a comment, but she did not respond.
CEC16 hopes to produce the preformatted letter to be used for the campaign on Monday.