Less than 24 hours after one of Odyssey Charter’s board members resigned following a town hall meeting, leadership at the Academia Alonso Charter School were still looking for more.
At a rally of over 200 students, parents, and teachers representing both of the neighboring charter schools at Barley Mill Plaza Wednesday night, Alonso Charter School Board President Maria Alonso said the resignation of Michael Klezaras wasn’t enough.
(VIDEO | Alonso & Odyssey Charter School Board Presidents at Wednesday's rally)
“I received a letter of apology from Michael Klezaras, the board member that has been scapegoated by Odyssey leadership and has been asked to resign. It is heartbreaking, that man is broken. The actions of the current leadership to scape you, Mr. Klezaras, is unconscionable, unjust, and frankly, cowardly.”
Alonso pointed out the multiple voices heard in a recording of a meeting last week that included jokes about “building a wall” between the two schools.
“I’ll tell you what ‘build the wall’ means to our children and our families. It means ‘get out of here’, ‘we don’t value you’, ‘we don’t want you here’, [and] ‘you do not belong.’
She specially pointed out Odyssey Charter School Board President Josiah Wolcott, who was in attendance applauding as Alonso and many of the other speakers were making points, often against his school. Other Odyssey school board members were also present at the rally though Alonso called specifically on Wolcott to take further action.
“So Mr. Wolcott, please do the right thing. You know the members that need to step down. Until then we will not go silent, we will not stop. We are moved to action to continue to speak up until what is right, is done.”
After the event, Wolcott spoke about what he heard.
“I heard the words tonight, and they were powerful. I failed in my vigilance, and I let down the Academia and Hispanic communities, and I want to move forward from there.”
Wolcott said there will be a Sunday meeting at the school as they contemplate their next actions, but said healing will require vigilance not shown last week.
“It will take keen awareness going forward, and action going forward, of the issues that the Hispanic and Academia communities face every day.”
Alonso wrapped up her speech by speaking to the 200 supporters at the rally.
“I am looking at each and every one of you standing out there, I see you, you are showing up and your presence says stop, we do not accept this kind of behavior here. Racism and hate have no home here.”