City probe targets ‘discriminatory’ DOE emails and tweets
A group of black and Latino employees in the city’s Education Department are under fire for urging their colleagues to support Chancellor Richard Carranza after his administration got sued for being “hostile toward whites.”
The DOE-sanctioned group calls itself The Black and Latino Employee Networking or “The B.L.E.N.D” and refers to whites as “non-people of color.”
It sent an email asking department workers to join a May 21 rally and wear light blue, a symbol of education, “to show support of our chancellor, as an equity warrior.”
About 100 people gathered on the steps of Tweed, the DOE’s headquarters in lower Manhattan, for the rally.
The email, sent by Renae Williams, a DOE computer science school director, said the gathering was prompted by news, first reported by The Post, of a lawsuit filed by female DOE executives who alleged they were demoted for being white and replaced by less qualified persons of color.
It says in part, “If we want to create a powerful, healing change, then we must all unite together.”
The Special Commissioner of Investigation is looking into the email.
“This is not kosher,” said City Councilman Robert Holden, D-Queens, who has criticized Carranza’s emphasis on ethnicity.
“It puts employees in a position to have to comply to show their allegiance to their boss, or face potential scrutiny from co-workers.”
A veteran white administrator agreed, saying: “I feel threatened and intimidated. The pervasive message is that there has been a line drawn in the sand — us versus them. After an entire career serving NYC children, I am being made to feel like ‘them.’”
DOE spokeswoman Danielle Filson defended the email and rally organized by B.L.E.N.D., an “employee resource group” which has signed up about 850 employees, she said.
“A voluntary, employee group focused on diversity and inclusion invited members to an event about diversity and inclusion. No one was pressured to attend and the email did not violate any rules,” she said.
But Mayor de Blasio last month agreed it was wrong for a top DOE official, Community Affairs Director Sadye Campoamor, to urge underlings to attend another rally to support Carranza after lawmakers demanded he stop using racially charged rhetoric.
— David Hay (@DavidArnoldHay) July 13, 2019
Holden also ripped Carranza’s deputy chief of staff, David Hay, for “labeling teachers by race” when Hay tweeted an article on July 13 titled, “The Discomfort of White Adults Should Never Take Priority Over the Success of Our Black and Brown Students.”
“For a senior official to share divisive articles shows just how destructive and out of touch the Carranza administration truly is,” Holden said in a statement to The Post.
“If the Chancellor wants to address racism within the DOE, I suggest he start within his own office.”
The DOE said Hay posted the article “on his personal Twitter account” — although Hay’s Twitter profile identifies him as Carranza’s deputy chief of staff.
The department also said Hay did not violate the department’s social-media guidelines, which call for “good judgment.”
The guidelines prohibit “harassing, obscene, discriminatory, defamatory or threatening language.”
The article he tweeted was written by a white former middle school teacher in Indianapolis who felt some fellow teachers harbored racial bias.
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