WE NEED YOUR HELP — Support your hometown newspaper by making a donation.

Residents create petition to fire teaching assistant in Malverne after ‘racist’ post

Posted

A petition has circulated on Facebook urging the Malverne School District to fire Louise Piacente-Aguilar, a teaching assistant in the district. Residents called for Piacente-Aguilar’s resignation over a post she had made on Facebook last week that they considered racist.

Piacente-Aguilar, who has worked in the district for 23 years, commented about demonstrators protesting the killing of George Floyd by a Minneapolis police officer on Memorial Day. She asserted that protesters, many of whom were black, should be run over repeatedly by police officers, stating, “They should have ran each and everyone of these animals over and than go back and forth over them to make sure they did not miss any.”

More than 7,000 people had signed the petition as the Herald went to press on Monday. District Superintendent Dr. James Hunderfund said the district was aware of Piacente-Aguilar’s “distressing” post. “The Board of Education and administration take this matter very seriously, and it is under investigation and being addressed through the legal process,” Hunderfund said in a statement. “This district does not stand for or condone any verbal or physical act/threat or social media post that exhibits or promotes violence, intolerance or hate of any kind. Any student or staff member who violates our usual guidelines as noted in the district’s Code of Conduct will face disciplinary and/or legal action, as appropriate.”

In a comment on the Herald’s Facebook page, district resident Evelyn Chassagne said that Piacente-Aguilar should be fired, and that the district could make an example out of her by doing so. “People of all color, shades and races are protesting peacefully and exercising their constitutional rights,” Chassagne said in her post. “To [see] this type of hatred by an educator is careless, misguided, disgusting and inhumane.”

In response to Floyd’s death, district officials shared a statement on the schools’ website that reads, “This district embraces our pride in our diversity, and our success has always stemmed from our unity in creating an environment for all students to succeed.  Let’s continue to be a beacon of light for each other during this time.”

In an effort to support the social and emotional needs of the school community, district officials also announced that they are working to form a committee to help students. The committee, which will include community leaders, aims to help students navigate the challenges of race relations. A formal statement explaining the purpose, goals and how to participate will be shared with district residents at a later date.