NEW HAVEN, Conn. (WTNH) — The fallout continues after Monday night’s controversial Board of Education vote approving the transfer and demotion of a New Haven principal to another city school after her alleged use of a racial slur.
Mayor Justin Elicker voted to support that motion. On Tuesday night, his opponent in the mayoral race is not pulling any punches.
Many community members were still upset Tuesday over the 4-3 vote on the superintendent’s recommendation report that included a transfer and demotion of Principal Laura Roblee of Brennan Rodgers Middle School.
Mayoral candidate Karen Dubois-Walton called the mayor’s ‘yes’ on the vote a lack of leadership and transparency.
Mayor Elicker, however, doubling down.
“I need to trust that the superintendent – who the Board unanimously approved a year and a half ago – is going to make the right decisions,” he told News 8.
It’s the first time we’re hearing from Elm City’s mayor after voting ‘yes’ to the demotion and transfer of Principal Roblee.
The decision not boding over well with community members who felt there needed to be more done to rectify the damage that was done.
“The fact that it was substantiated, a simple re-assignment is not the answer,” said Dr. Tamiko Jackson-McCarthur, a New Haven Board of Education Member, Tuesday night.
With many outraged in the community, the mayor is not back peddling from his vote.
“I don’t use the Board of Ed. as a soapbox and again, our goal is results,” he explained. “We spent two hours in executive session discussing the issue and I’m explaining to you my reasoning and I’m happy to explain to anyone that asks.”
Mayoral candidate Karen Dubois-Walton firing back Wednesday calling the mayor’s ‘yes’ vote a missed opportunity to denounce the painful language used by the New Haven educator.
“The mayor remained silent for an hour during the discussion and the community expects to hear from its mayor,” Dubois-Walton said. “As a district that’s responsible for educating young people, I think we’re trying to teach young people how to think through things to have critical thought. We’re trying to teach them that when mistakes are made, how to heal the harm.”
The mayor, however, believes swift and deliberate action was taken.
“This individual was demoted and there in addition to that is required to receive extra training and talk with the individuals involved and I don’t think it’s an appropriate assessment to say we passed the buck,” Mayor Elicker said.
“Avoidance, silence, that has seemed to be a pattern when it comes to issues difficult issues. Issues that require us to be courageous, have the tough conversations and do our own internal work and be able to listen to others. That doesn’t seem to be something he’s demonstrating in his leadership, and that’s a problem,” Dubois-Walton fired back.
News 8 reached out to Principal Laura Roblee for comment since her demotion to assistant principal and transfer to another city school, we have not heard back yet. As for the school she’ll be transferred to, that has not been announced by the district.