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Letter to the Editor: Carpet Bombing Campaign

Mineola Board of Education candidate Artie Barnett submitted the following letter.

Elections often bring out an interesting side of people and this year's campaign for Mineola School Board certainly shows us that.

Since I , Mr. McGrath has taken off on a carpet bombing campaign of our entire district. While I certainly expected him to target me as he saw fit, I was amazed to see him belittle, insult and threaten the very people he was elected to serve.

He started with our students, calling the Mineola graduates ill-prepared and less than college ready. He suggests that the parents of our special education students, themselves have special needs in a broad brushed insult to all of them at . And now, against our own District Council of PTAs?

When I suggested that John had lost touch with our district residents he took umbrage with that notion. I can do little more than watch him prove my point. His words and actions over the past month solidify my belief and has truly made me happy I decided to run and remove him from our board of education.

Our entire district deserves people who truly represent them. More importantly, our district deserves people who respect them. I believe he has gone from out of touch, to totally out of bounds. Your debate was with me John but you chose to go after our students, parents and hard working volunteers instead.

Only in the eleventh hour does he choose to engage his true opponents, or possibly just throw in a last word. His cannot change his actions of the past. I look forward to the district voter’s choice tomorrow and if nothing else, I hope it shows a healthy support of our budget.

Artie Barnett
Mineola, NY

Artie Barnett is a Mineola resident. He is currently running for trustee on the .

Thomas Francis May 14, 2012 at 10:33 PM
Thank you Mr. Barnett for always keeping the best interests of the students and taxpayers of our district in mind. It's refreshing to see a candidate who cares so deeply for our community and has given so much. You and Mrs. Napolitano have campaigned with honesty and integrity. We have almost completed our first year of district reconfiguration, and it is time for you to serve on the BOE as we continue to make our district even better. You and Mrs. Napolitano have my votes.
Patricia Navarra May 15, 2012 at 01:43 AM
McGrath's derisive public comment about the parents of children with special needs is all anyone really needs to know.
CDatys May 15, 2012 at 02:34 AM
Hey Geoffrey Walter ....... Can you please explain why there are 2 comments on this article, but I can see them? Were they flagged as inappropriate? and by whom?
John McGrath May 15, 2012 at 03:46 PM
Stop lying Pat. As a lawyer specializing in representing students with special needs it is highly unlikely that I would make any derogatory comments about them, public or otherwise. You should stick to what you know. What is that again?
Patricia Navarra May 15, 2012 at 03:54 PM
It was in public. There you go with ad hominem attacks again.
Patricia Navarra May 15, 2012 at 03:57 PM
Just go to the tape.
Linda Ramos May 15, 2012 at 04:30 PM
Mr. McGrath.....you say "highly unlikely" which means that you don't recall saying it. Well many of us heard it at meet the candidate night, and I look forward to going back to the tape. You also stated that night that you don't engage in social media, so it appears that you have found a new hobby.
CDatys May 15, 2012 at 04:45 PM
John We all heard your remarks regarding special needs students and their parents "likelihood" of being disabled and therefore they are hard to reach/work with. Perhaps you are not aware that your remarks came across as very improper and insensitive. I don't know which is worse, your remarks or your lack of awareness about the things you say and do
Artie Barnett May 15, 2012 at 05:37 PM
To be fair to my opponent and not be accused of taking words out of context, I am posting the question and his answer below. Q: "How do you propose to improve student performances, for example – special ed and ESL?"
Artie Barnett May 15, 2012 at 05:38 PM
John Mcgrath's Answer: "I think especially with ESL and disabled students strong pre-K and kindergarten programs – and strong elementary programs generally – are the key to ensuring that they are able to learn as closely as possible as students who don’t have those challenges. Now, with respect to our special ed program I think that we’ve been listed as many other public school districts on Long Island and in New York State as a school district in need of improvement in the area of special education. So I’m looking forward to interviewing the new special ed director and hearing her responses on how she’s going to get us past that. Also I have communicated with parents of disabled children in the district and some of the stories they tell me I’m not happy about. So I’m not as confident in the viability of our special education program as the other two candidates. But in fairness, I haven’t been overwhelmed with complaints but that very often it's just parents who are not going to complain and I think certainly for ESL parents that’s a challenge to find somebody that you’re, you know that you have confidence in complaining to and the same thing for disabled students and their parents who also many times have disabilities. So the challenge for us is to improve student performance in those two categories and rise to an acceptable level, particularly now with our special education students."
John McGrath May 15, 2012 at 06:23 PM
Kudos to Mr. Barnett for posting my reply. But could someone please tell me exactly what was derisive or insensitive? Or could this just be more politics? Again thank you to Mr. Barnett for the posting. The accusation is ludicrous.
CDatys May 15, 2012 at 07:42 PM
Hi John..... I would be happy to. Saying that someone is a "disabled student" highlights the fact that they are a "disability" first and a "student" second. If you were to use proper "person first" language than you would have and should have said student(s) with a disability. This would show that first and foremost you are aknowledging that the child is first a STUDENT and the disability is something he/she HAS..... rather than the disability being something he/she IS. As a professional in this field as well as the parent of a Child/Student WITH a Disability I am very senitive to language and the way it is used...... Being a professional in this field, you should too!!! Furthermore, I am not even going to touch on your simplistic generalization that Students with Disabilities come from Parents with Disabilities. I too, would like to thank Artie for the posting
Robin Roach May 15, 2012 at 08:51 PM
As a parent of a child with special needs, this is the part I find offensive and insensitive.."same thing for disabled students and their parents who also many times have disabilities." Just for clarification you said parents of children with needs are incapable of complaining and advocating for their child because we are too disabled ourselves to do so. This is not insensitive REALLY?

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