New York City’s Department of Education (NYCDOE) is currently investigating racist, anti-white text messages that were allegedly sent by Marion Wilson, the black superintendent for schools in District 31.
According to the New York Post, screenshots of the offensive text messages were forwarded by email to chancellor David Banks and other officials from an encrypted email address, [email protected]
It’s not clear who’s behind the account, as the owner has reportedly refused to reply to requests for information from the Post and other outlets.
It is clear though that the text messages are quite disturbing.
“I need to clean up this Island. White folks need to recognize this is not the boys club anymore. A strong black woman runs this bitch now and they can either get on board or get out. If they don’t get out I’m going to take them out one by one. They’re not gonna know what hit them,” one message reads.
In another text message, Wilson allegedly celebrated the ouster of a white employee, writing, “Chris’s white ass is G-O-N-E! It’s happening.”
“I agreed to take CL. She won’t cause issues. If anything she’ll keep the white folks off my back,” she added.
“Chris” is reportedly a reference to Christopher Anzalone, the district’s former executive director, and “CL” is reportedly a reference to Christine Loughlin, who now serves in Anzalone’s former role.
“No more white principals on my watch!” another patently racist text message reads.
According to the Post, a fourth text message shows “someone texting Wilson about two white Staten Island principals, David Cugini of Susan Wagner HS, a nephew of the late Christy Cugini, a former District 31 superintendent, and Nicholas Mele of IS 51.”
“LOL Mele and Cugini better play nice. They’re first up on the chopping block,” the other person wrote.
“After an NYPD officer was accused of punching a girl near IS 51 on Jan. 3, Wilson sent Banks and a team of DOE supervisors to walk through the school to check on the wellbeing of students. The review found the building safe and without serious problems, but sources believe Wilson was cracking down on Mele,” the Post notes.
According to the Staten Island Advance, the text messages were “first investigated” by the New York City Special Commissioner for Investigation (SCI).
Eventually, the SCI referred the case to the NYCDOE. At that point, the NYCDOE reportedly launched its own investigation into the matter.
Now here’s where the story takes a wild turn.
In a statement to the Staten Island Advance, an NYCDOE spokesperson called the text messages “fake” and claimed that the SCI is specifically looking into the messages’ origin.
“This story has been kicking around since August, and it’s not true. SCI is not investigating her. SCI is investigating fake texts and spoofing,” spokesperson Nathaniel Styer said, referencing Wilson.
But in a statement to the Post, an SCI spokesperson said the DOE’s claim is bull.
“That is not an SCI statement, and DOE should know better than to speculate on confidential investigations being conducted by SCI. Regardless, DOE’s press office does not speak for SCI. SCI’s statement was that we do not confirm or discuss matters that are pending,” the spokesperson said.
And so at the moment, it’s not clear who’s investigating whom and why.
That being said, Wilson is certainly not short of supporters:
Dr. Wilson is and always will be dedicated and devoted to the students. As an educator, she is always looking for ways to lift student achievement and growth for not just the students but also in us educators. @DrMarionWilson
— Christina (@CScarpaci4) March 4, 2023
@DrMarionWilson, keep up the transformative work you’ve been focused on to #ElevateD31 since day 1: shared leadership and building collective efficacy to improve teaching and learning for all. You’ve never wavered in your commitment to this vision. Ignore the #StatusQuoWarriors
— Lamson (@Lamson_Lam) March 4, 2023
@DrMarionWilson We’re in this together! We got this! Your unwavering commitment to youngsters is remarkable. ❤️ ❤️ pic.twitter.com/qpnkwg7Wy7
— Eileen Barone (@eileenbaronenyc) March 4, 2023
Hey Boss…. Your work will do the talking. Happy Saturday! @PS21si pic.twitter.com/dOlus7WDvD
— Anthony (@MrCPS21) March 4, 2023
Her supporters include the United Federation of Teachers.
“Dr. Wilson cares deeply about our students and school communities. One of her talents is her ability to bring people together behind the common cause of raising student achievement in all our schools,” UFT local borough representative Sean Rotkowitz said to the Advance.
“As both a deputy superintendent and now as superintendent on Staten Island, Dr. Wilson has a track record of looking at evidence and data and then making fair decisions that support students, school communities and staff,” he added.
But Wilson also has her fair share of detractors, some of whom noted to the Post that she has a history of publicly talking about only hiring blacks.
“Many assistant principals and principals have voiced comments made by the District 31 superintendent about hiring only black administrators for vacancies. Many administrators with tenure who live in Staten Island have left for other districts,” one Brooklyn principal anonymously said to the Post.
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