Things got seriously personal at a school board meeting in Newark, N.J., this week.
Hundreds of parents, teachers and community activists gathered Tuesday night to discuss Newark Superintendent Cami Anderson’s plan to improve education in the city, according to New Jersey Spotlight. But it wasn’t long before speakers began insulting Anderson, and after about two hours, she reached her breaking point.
New Jersey Spotlight says Anderson left the rowdy meeting after a community activist made a comment about the Caucasian leader’s biracial child. “Do you not want for our brown babies what you want for your brown baby?” Natasha Allen reportedly asked Anderson.
The meeting continued in the superintendent's absence.
This incident comes about a month after Anderson unveiled her “One Newark” plan, which would expand the presence of charter schools in the district and close several community schools. While Anderson has said the plan is designed to increase dwindling enrollment and improve failing schools, critics see it as an attack on public education and complain that it was put together without public input.
“The plans were developed behind closed doors without meaningful community input,” Ras Baraka, a New Jersey councilman and candidate for Newark mayor, wrote in Patch in December. “The state appointed superintendent claims that her plan will assure all students access to an excellent school, but the reality is that there are failing charter schools and failing public schools.”
Anderson is not an elected official. She was appointed by the state in 2011. Newark School District has been controlled by the state of New Jersey since 1995.
Earlier this month, Anderson came under particular scrutiny after five Newark principals, who had criticized the "One Newark" plan, were suspended from their jobs. The principals recently filed a federal lawsuit over the incident, claiming that their First Amendment rights were violated and seeking a restraining order against Anderson, according to the New Jersey Star-Ledger.