Seeking to reverse a school board decision ousting elected leaders of the Bridgeport Parent District Advisory Council, attorney Norm Pattis has filed a federal lawsuit against the Board of Education urging injunctive relief and punitive damages under the First Amendment against acting school chief Fran Rabinowitz.
Claiming school board malice against the district PAC, Pattis is asking the court to reverse a decision that dumped PAC leadership involving a bylaw forbidding parent leadership from affiliation with other education advocacy organizations.
Among the 12 PAC members impacted include President Tammy Boyle and former school board member Maria Pereira.
Pattis argues Rabinowitz’s “individual acts were intentional, and were inspired by malice, to wit: an actual desire to retaliate against members of the DPAC Executive Board on account of their speech.”
Pattis is no stranger to school board battles. He filed the lawsuit against the Board of Education following its July 2011 decision to throw in the towel in support of state control of schools that was overturned by the Connecticut Supreme Court.
Calling controlling members of the school board the “Satan six,” Pereira states:
“This coup is so similar to the illegal takeover of the BBOE in July 2011, it is almost frightening. The similarities are quite striking.
A Special Meeting notice issued on a late Friday afternoon before the 4th of July, or in this case, before a Special Election. No public comment was allowed at either meeting. This time a special meeting was held at 5:00 PM when most parents are at work, leaving work or getting dinner ready for their children and families. The meeting was held the night before a Special Election that impacted 75% of Bridgeport residents. Most of our active and involved parents and community members were heavily involved in a variety of campaigns the night this meeting was scheduled and the polls opened the very next day at 6:00 AM.
Pereira adds, “We will not be silenced by the “Satan Six,” Mayor Finch or Fran Rabinowitz.”
Linda Conner Lambeck of the CT Post weighs in here.