Education board trustees contemplate removal of one of their own


Schools are no place for vulgar words and name-calling, and neither should education board meetings.

At least that’s what a number of parents are demanding in the wake of one Elmont education board trustee reportedly doing just that in the middle of a meeting — and now they want him to answer for his transgression.

But what can be done is really a major question — one the Elmont education board itself is trying to answer.

It all started at an education board meeting at Elmont Road School last month. With his microphone turned on, trustee Michael Jaime could be heard calling a member of the audience a “crazy bitch.”

While it was not clear to whom the comment was directed, the words can be heard on the recording published on the district’s website a few days later.

This is not the first time Jaime has found himself in some hot water. Just last year, the trustee was questioned about using an Elmont school bus the previous fall to attend an event in Manhattan hosted by The Obama Foundation. The bus was used without communication or proper paperwork, critics said, who also challenged the appropriateness of its use.

More than two dozen people rallied outside of Stewart Manor School last week ahead of the education board meeting that was scheduled there, calling for Jaime’s removal. His current term expires next year.

Dwayne Palmer is one of those who were out there that evening demanding for Jaime’s removal.

“Any elected representative that thinks that their constituency are ‘Crazy b’s’ do not deserve the seats that they have been entrusted with,” Palmer told the crowd.

Lynette Battle, president of the Elmont Memorial High School Parent Teacher Student Association, focused her ire not on Jaime, but instead of the women on the school board for not calling him out when he made the comment.

“What these women are doing with their silence is giving this individual the OK to do it again and again,” she told the rally. “Trust and believe that this wasn’t his first time. He was way too comfortable.”

Throughout last week’s board meeting — which ran until around 1 a.m. — board president Nancy Garlick asked the audience to maintain decorum throughout the meeting.

“It starts with us, and you,” Garlick said, to a sea of jeers.

When it was their turn to speak, a handful of people expressed their feelings about the issue before tempers in the room started to flare.

Trecia Wong demanded Jaime apologize.

“Just like if a student or an employee had committed the same infraction, we need to lead by example,” she said. “The board sets the policy and governs the school. And if the behavior is not acceptable in our schools, then it should not be acceptable from a board trustee.”

Garlick said there would be no apology, but that “all board members were spoken to about decorum and professionalism.” Yet, board vice president Tiffany Capers expressed her own apologies to the crowd before Garlick interrupted her, admonishing her about addressing the community about the issue.

“You have no business doing that,” Garlick said.

But Capers — acknowledging the board had not granted her permission to speak on its behalf — didn’t let up.

“As a human — as a woman — I’m apologizing,” she said.

As tensions in the room grew, Garlick and Jaime joined a few of their staffers in exiting the room. When they returned, Jaime read from a statement, but made no other comments for the duration of the meeting.

“Upon reflection, I realize that my words were inappropriate and do not reflect my true character or beliefs,” Jaime said. “I take full responsibility for my remarks. I regret the impact of my words, and understand the importance of upholding professionalism and respect at all times — whether in public or private settings, regardless of public commentary.

“I understand that words have power, and that as a trustee, I hold myself to a higher standard of behavior.”

Garlick then apologized for the lack of decorum before calling for a motion to adjourn. Instead, trustee Angel Ramos made his own motion to expel Jaime from the board. Although that motion was seconded by Capers, it died without a vote after board attorney Candace Gomez said there was no precedent for removing a trustee based on a singular comment.

Instead, the board decided to table Ramos’ motion for a future meeting, although no specific date was given. However, the next education board meeting is scheduled for April 9, at Alden Terrace School.