Montclair Parents Call For Resignation of Montclair Schools Interim Superintendent

A number of Montclair parents had a response during public comment at Wednesday’s Montclair Board of Education meeting to a statement made by Interim Montclair Schools Superintendent Dr. Nathan Parker.

They asked for his immediate resignation.

According to parents who spoke during public comment, Parker allegedly made remarks regarding racist teachers reportedly at a NAACP education committee meeting and those remarks have been circulating on social media

At the beginning of the meeting, Parker made a statement, apologizing for how others might have interpreted his remarks.

“At a meeting of the NAACP education subcommittee, I was asked a question. My response was interpreted as supporting racism and teachers. I want to reiterate tonight that I in no way support racism in any form when I attempted to speak about was the inevitable presence of bias in the school environment and how it can be addressed and reduced through strong educational systems and hiring practices. I do not support or condone racism in any form. It is regrettable that my comments were heard to mean the opposite. I have been involved with fighting injustice and supporting equity for students as a school leader for more than 50 years and I will continue to do so. I’ll offer to speak personally with anyone who was offended. That offer still stands and I invite you to contact me for a personal appointment,” said Parker.

Parker added he would be attending upcoming conversations on race in the community to further understand the concern of racial injustice in Montclair.

“It has been my pleasure to come to the Montclair school district and learn more about its history and development. Part of that history includes deep wounds over segregation and a lack of education, equitable access and opportunity,” Parker continued. “I did not intend to cause harm or open old wounds by my comments. I am sorry my words may have been misinterpreted and I appreciate the opportunity to explain my intent. I seek to be involved in healing past practices and improving our schools and we’ll continue to work in that endeavor.”

Speaking for the National Independent Black Parents’ Association (NIBPA) Kellia Sweat called for Parker’s immediate resignation. She was one of several members of the public to echo that call.

“Dr. Parker already admitted to saying he does not have a problem if a teacher is found to be racist, as long as it doesn’t disrupt instruction,” Sweat said.

June Raegner said she had heard Parker’s comments as well and criticized his statement as not an apology.

Diane Anglin, who is serving as Montclair NAACP’s interim educational committee chair, said in response to the alleged Parker remarks: “I was not made aware of the specifics of the statements that were made. The position of the NAACP, from Mr. Pelham, is that he is going to release a statement after gathering all of this information.”

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9 COMMENTS

  1. The NAACP needs to make a statement…like yesterday. AND Erin Roll refuses to report on this as she was present at one of the NAACP meetings in question. Taking notes.

  2. You know what I don’t support? Cronyism. How many friends and colleagues is Eve Robinson and Nathan Parker going to hire? People had a problem with Dr Johnson doing it, but remain silent now.

  3. Pardonmyfrench: You are looking in the wrong place. Erin Roll writes for Montclair Local and has posted an article there.

    We are in a time of lash and backlash. There are no more private conversations or half-remembered comments. Phones, drones and citizens on edge assure it. There is no cover for loose talk and there are no excuses for lazy thought. There is no patience for dialogue, less interest in understanding. Think out loud and your dumb utterances will quickly be posted, disseminated and entombed in server farms across the planet. From Harris to Parker, one interesting aspect of this is the emergence of the local NAACP as a trusted arbiter of racism.

  4. Speaking of history and media and technology:

    Montclair used to have for many years a forum sponsored by the Civil Rights Commission called Conversations on Race. It was considered successful by some. The CRC withdrew its sponsorship, and with a lack of funding, was disbanded in 2011. It was restarted in 2013 on Facebook. Also, in 2013, the Montclair Times started a short-lived feature named “Neighbors and Fences”. It was to highlight issues of diversity, inclusiveness and how residents were positively trying to improve the community. Mayor Jackson spoke out for the need as he perceived a growing socioeconomic divide from the Montclair he grew up in.

    My point is the issues here will always require constant attention, but this is a different, digital age. The transparency it provides is an overall good thing. We need to embrace these platforms as an equal leg of the tripod with the traditional print media and face-to-face discussions. Furthermore, if you want to reach the younger residents, we are required to embrace it.

    This point is to address comments made by the President of the NAACP and the Board of Education.

  5. lacamina,

    The environment:

    Dirge of big, clearly delineated township-wide municipal issues

    Changing constituencies due to gentrification and population growth

    Question of voter turnout due to successes of incumbent Council

    $. Municipal coffers offer record amounts to play with and fight over

    $. Even if the Mayor hadn’t cited figures, most voters would accept that property values (and rents) have greatly accelerated

    Increasing, public interpersonal friction among the Councilors (not policy differences)

    The timing of all this stuff hitting the fan.

    An election is a major pressure point in our system. Racism, et al is certainly not new. Rent control has been an issue in Montclair for over 40 years. Rapid social disruption – actual or perceived – is a powerful political differentiator.

    Lastly, the Mayor has the job if he wants it and he has long, but finite coattails with no guarantee of a ride.

    Add your own. How can it not be about the election?

Comments are closed.