Watch: Tony Barr And John Gomes Exchange Heat At School Board Session

Things got a little heated during the public speaking portion of the Board of Education meeting Wednesday night over Superintendent of Schools Carmela Levy-David’s proposal to close six schools due to deteriorating conditions with poor academic performance: Bridgeport Learning Center, Bryant, Edison, Hall, Dunbar and Wilbur Cross School.

A number of speakers were critical of the proposal that requires sign off from the school board including several members aligned with losing mayoral candidate John Gomes who was in attendance.

Tony Barr, leader of the New Movement Party, declared that the level of discourse had gotten out of hand including among board members with a history of dysfunction, adding they don’t set a positive example for the students.

The video above shows Barr with microphone addressing the board and community audience. Barr, who supported Mayor Joe Ganim, says he was interrupted by Gomes. Fingers were pointed and Barr said if you have something to say I’m right here. He approached Gomes, seated next to City Councilman Jorge Cruz, wearing a cap and beige coat. Gomes stood up.

Security intervened and Barr departed the meeting.



  1. I am an observer of public comments wherever they pop up.

    I am also aware of recent City Council meetings with hundreds in attemdance who are serious about the issues that bring them to Council Chambers and ready to speak and listen.

    Peace through ceasefires that lessen violence are facts and news today. So are schools found to be unsafe and a threat to producing academic acheivement.

    The election is over and community memory in Bridgeport needs to focus on the 85% of folks who stayed away from voting. Where was the New Movement Party then? How many folks did they encourage to the polls? Where were they on topics around education and safety of City youth?

    Using a loud voice because of a compromised speaker system is one thing, I had to adjust to in CITY HALL on Monday evening, but that is not the problem on line. I have also been videoed since the Council met on December 4, 2023 and the crowds have increased to SRO size. And applause will follow authentic comments. But the chair is still respected in the main at CC meetings.

    Where are the community conversations scheduled for all districts and multiple neighborhoods so that some democratic information and participation may surface? When and where? Locate, schedule, publicize. It takes little money or effort to do that. Let each neighborhood lead the way. Only in Bridgeport may post such schedules, because they will become a unique feature in the community political life of the last few decades. Practicing democracy requires activity, not necessarily loud words or animosity. Time will tell.

  2. Shuttering six schools is not consolidation !

    So what the Fluck is Joe Ganim doing with our Tax dollars, Six Schools in disrepair, unsafe, streets you can drive on, sidewalks you can’t walk on, for 8 years with a (Surplus) and Ganim (Holding the line on taxes) or is this surplus just Joe’s discretionary pin money?
    I think it’s time that the State of CT. step in for comprehensive audit.
    It takes a new Superintendent of Schools, to shine the light on these unsafe Schools !
    Lets see how fast the State Board of Education, comes in to help, always advocating for equity and excellence in public education.

  3. John, John, John, have you learned anything from our friendship? 🙂

    You can’t ask the community for public participation in the democratic process and then reduce those who do to necessary loud words or animosity because their view/voices follow your line of thinking.

    The same can be said for the 85% who don’t participate in the voting process. Democracy is grounded on free will and the right to vote. I am sure if that 15% went your way we wouldn’t be having this conversation. Don’t blame the 85% absentee voters. Look inward for not getting the majority of votes.

    Perhaps John you are also aware of recent City Council meetings with hundreds in attendance who are serious about the issues that bring them to Council Chambers and ready to speak and listen, but you also know it is not an issue governed by the 15% who elected them to chambers too.

    That being said according to Google

    “The Palestinian Authority Basic Law provides for an elected president and legislative council. There have been no elections in the West Bank and Gaza Strip for Palestinian Authority offices since 2006, and Palestinians there do not have the right to vote in Israeli elections.”

    How does the fair in your view of Democracy?

    Perhaps we need to get back to 2007, George Bush’s two-state solution. A Democratic two-state solution.

    Focus up Port CC, Y’all got a big day tomorrow, delivering Peace to the Middle East.


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