Everywhere she goes, it seems, Cathie Black is followed by throngs of devoted detractors who "boo" and jeer her at every opportunity.
Early Friday morning, a Department of Education panel voted to close 12 New York City schools. But not before hundreds of people spent five hours ridiculing the panel, especially Black.
From the Daily News:
More than half the 2,000 parents, teachers and students at Brooklyn Tech High School in Fort Greene chanted, booed and banged drums early in the explosive meeting, halting proceedings for 30 minutes.
The rabble-rousers walked out and continued their demonstration outside.
The panel is made up of 13 members, eight of which were appointed by Mayor Bloomberg who favors the closures. Mike Mulgrew, president of the teachers union, called the panel "illegitimate."
Over the past three days, Black has overseen the shuttering of 22 struggling schools, most of which will be replaced by new, smaller schools in the same buildings.
From the New York Post:
"These schools have demonstrated persistently poor performance -- in some cases for a decade or longer," Black said as boisterous heckling drowned out most of her speech.
Chants of "Cathie Black is whack" and "Cathie Black must go" thundered through the auditorium while whistles blared and drums pounded.
On Tuesday, Black lost her cool at another meeting held to discuss the closure of ten schools. She responded to the crowd's taunts with a a mocking "Ohhhhh" after telling hecklers that she, "cannot speak if you are shouting."
Councilmen Jumaane Williams and Charles Barron called Black out for her behavior at the previous meeting.
"What in the world is the matter with you?" Williams said. "You show utter contempt and scorn for the parents you should be serving. If you don't want to be here, then leave -- because many of us don't want you here anyway."
Barron echoed those sentiments.
"That little ugly sound you made on TV, jeering our parents, is the height of disrespect," the Brooklyn councilman said.
UPDATE: Mayor Bloomberg responded to the reports of heckling at the schools hearing. From The Daily News:
"The decorum: it's embarrassing for New York City, New York State, for America. This is not democracy, letting people yell and scream," Mayor Bloomberg said on the John Gambling radio show.
"That's not freedom of expression, to take away someone else's rights. If we want to attract good people to come and work for the public, you don't do this."