Ed Board Combatants Urged To Apologize

A former top city cop Tuesday accused Board of Education members of encouraging violence among students by the way they handled a dispute in public — and challenged them to make it right.

The dispute occurred at the end of a contentious two and a half hour Board of Education meeting Monday night called to select a new superintendent of schools.

In the final minute of the meeting, after repeated clashes and amid yelling interruptions from an overflow crowd, Chairman Ed Joyner began speaking about accusations of past financial impropriety by member Darnell Goldson.

“You are about to get sued!” Goldson responded.

At which point Joyner approached Goldson and remarked, “We can go to Bowen Field and have a duel!”

As chaos swirled, the meeting was adjourned and the two men remained apart.

The encounter was the talk of the town that night and on WNHH FM’s morning programs Tuesday.

On her program “Love Babz Love Talk,” Inner-City News Managing Editor Babz Rawls-Ivy, who attended the meeting, compared the scene to “backstage at the BET awards. The only thing missing was the Hennessy and gold chains. That was not the Board of Education.”

Then, on “Dateline New Haven,” retired Assistant Police Chief John Velleca criticized the ed board members for sending a dangerous signal to schoolchildren through their conduct.

“They should be ashamed of themselves,” Velleca said. “This is not the way you handle a problem. ... Kids see this. 2011 was the bad year when we had all the homicides and the shootings. How does that happen? It happens because our adults lash out with words and threats and lawsuits. Our kids lash out with physical violence and guns. It’s a very bad precedent to set. What they did was wrong.”

Velleca currently serves as sergeant-at-arms for the Connecticut State Senate. Even at the legislature’s tensest moments, he said, he has never seen the kind of behavior that was on display at Monday night’s ed board meeting at Beecher School.

He said police on scene handled it properly, separating people without resorting to arrests.

But he said Joyner and Goldson should face consequences — by showing up in the public schools to explain themselves to students.

“They should come out and say, ‘What we did last night was wrong,’” Velleca argued. And if they don’t, other school system leaders should, he suggested: “Somebody should talk to these kids and say, ‘Listen, this is not the way to handle this problem.’ ... If it’s left to fester, it’s going to look like they’re OK with what they did. Which they can’t be.”

“They should definitely confront that word ‘duel.’ Because if you go and look at the history of that word, it’s a violent word. It leads to death. Somebody should say something. It got out of hand,” added WNHH Station Manager Harry Droz, who also appeared on the program.

In an interview Tuesday afternoon, Mayor Toni Harp, who sat next to Goldson during the meeting, called for a public apology over the confrontation.

“We send kids out of school, expel them for less than that,” Harp said. “They owe an apology to the people of New Haven. I’m sure once they view what happened, they are not pleased with themselves.

“It just goes to show you adults are not perfect, but hopefully they will apologize.”

(Click on the above Facebook Live video to watch Monday night’s board meeting. The ultimate confrontation between Goldson and Joyner occurs in the final minute.)

Goldson and Joyner — former allies on the board, then antagonists — have openly feuded for months at meetings and in publicly shared emails.

Goldson said Tuesday he’d be willing to make a joint appearance in the schools as suggested by Velleca — but only if Joyner apologizes to him first.

And if Joyner doesn’t apologize, Goldson said, he will consider pressing criminal charges.

“I’m the victim here. I’m the one who was attacked and threatened,” Goldson said. “I’ve asked Ed over and over again to fix this. He’s the leader of the board.

“I’m willing to do whatever is reasonable. [But] I’ve got to tell you — I’m a little afraid of him now. He’s got a very short temper. They had to pull him off [me].”

Reached Tuesday evening Joyner promised to “make it right.”

He vowed to work to put “the strife” on display Monday night behind the board. Even though Joyner did not support the board majority’s choice for superintendent, Carol Birks, Joyner said he called her Tuesday to pledge his support moving forward.

“Judge me by my deeds, not my words,” Joyner said.

“If you’ve got 21,000 kids on ship and a new captain, it’s our job to make sure they have smooth sailing. My job now is to honor the board’s choice and to work with Dr. Birks and support her. I reached out to her today and told her I will give her my full support to tell her we will begin to repair some of the breaches in the community.

“What’s more important is not what is said, but what is done. I’m going to do the right thing. I’m going to support our superintendent. I’m going to support our parents. I’m going to support our children.”


Click on or download the above audio file or the Facebook Live video below for the full episode of WNHH FM’s “Dateline New Haven” program with John Velleca and Harry Droz.

Click on the above Facebook Live video for Tuesday’s episode of WNHH radio’s “Lova Babz Love Talk,” which focused on Monday night’s Board of Education meeting.

Previous coverage of the superintendent search:

Wanted: Schools Chief To Rebuild Trust
Infighting Puts Super Search On Hold
Super Search Gives Nutmeggers 2nd Look
“Tonight Has Been An Embarrassment”
2 Superintendent Candidates Withdraw
Read Their Resumes
Supe Candidates Split On Charters
Student Rep: School Board Should Reconsider
Opposition Mounts To Birks
Highsmith: No Deal For #2
Divided Ed Board Selects Birks

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posted by: watchfuleye on November 21, 2017  6:30pm

Oh please!!!  Goldson is not afraid! They both have been going back and forth. He is just making more out of scene. Even his overly dramatic self. They still should conduct themselves…

posted by: 1644 on November 21, 2017  7:09pm

Hey, Alexander Hamilton is hot right now, so, if it was good enough for Hamilton and Burr, why wouldn’t it be good enough for Joyner and Goldson?  Lin Manuel-Miranda could officiate.  A re-enactment could be a real “teachable moment”.  Plus, as I said earlier, if the duel is at Bowen Field, tickets could be sold!  Although, personally, I would prefer rapiers, as in the Rob Roy movie, Liam Neeson and Tim Roth style.

posted by: AliceB on November 21, 2017  7:20pm

They should both resign.

posted by: newhavenlives on November 21, 2017  7:30pm

Babz, BET awards got fancy, baby. I think you meant the Source Awards (think deathrow vs. bad boy).  Levity aside, Joyner and Goldson should be ashamed of themselves.  For all his qualifications and achievements, Mr. Joyner has proven himself to be a poor leader in this sphere.

posted by: EducateourchildrenNH on November 21, 2017  7:53pm

Unbelievable. Goldson was physically and verbally attacked and somehow he is to blame. No matter how much you may dislike him, and I tell you sometime he gets under my skin, I think we start down a real silippery slope when we start blaming victims, no matter how much we dislike them.

posted by: Callisto on November 21, 2017  8:28pm

Huh? Goldson was yelling “shame on you” to the many parents, educators and students who dared question the corporatists’ pre-determined choice. Torre is right - it was the moment where the future of education was transferred from the hands of dedicated educators into those of political careerists and power mongers.

posted by: Kids_First on November 21, 2017  8:57pm

The only victims here are our students. They are suffering because the adults have shown them that they think they are voiceless, brainless, people who have no intellectual fortitude to make sound decisions about what is best for their education.  I don’t and will not feel sorry for a grown man who antagonizes, disrespects, dishonors and belittles fellow board members and community members at every board meeting when given the space and opportunity to do so. Goldson has NEVER been on the same side as the Mayor on any decision. Now, he jumps ship to join her bandwagon???  This is financial and politics at its worst.  Watch my words… Goldson is planning to join forces with the Mayor to further his future in politics in New Haven and perhaps the state of CT.  She is a meal ticket now.  Voting with her will only provide an avenue for his future to expand in politics.  Also be clear…Dr. Birks will not last very long here. If you cannot lead a Bridgeport High School beyond a year, I refuse to believe that she has what it takes to tell any other leader of a school building how to successfully lead.  I give Dr. Birks a year—-maybe two.  I support the Student walk out planned for Nov. 27.  I hope teachers join them.

posted by: loquacious truth on November 21, 2017  9:30pm

So here we go New Haven!! They just rolled out Garth 2.0!! Get ready parents and teachers, super fight II against the charters is coming in 2018!! I know I’m warming up!!

posted by: AverageTaxpayer on November 21, 2017  9:58pm

I agree with Alice B. They should both resign.

Has anyone noted how the democracy experiment, regarding a “hybrid” BofE has failed? Miserably!

posted by: Babz Rawls Ivy on November 21, 2017  10:01pm

Ha ha ha! newhavenlives…
I can only recall when I worked the BET awards back in the day….

You might be right though… Refinement has set in… We can only hope the BOE will follow suit!

Ha hahaha!

posted by: Noteworthy on November 21, 2017  10:08pm

Apologize Over This Notes:

1. Mayor Harp has a lot of gall to call on others to apologize. The apology parade should start with her and her sorry leadership of this city - the power and politics play on this school board. It is an epic failure of leadership, an abdication of her fiduciary responsibility to the taxpayers, parents and children of this city. Her abject failure to recognize her own participation in and fomenting of this clusterfxxk is typical of her entire political career. She wrecked the economy of this state, holds herself out to be blameless in that never ending debacle and cycle of spend, tax, spend more and tax more that has cost us jobs, economic vitality and sustainability. That she even purports to know how to accelerate the economy and economic opportunity of the black community or any other segment of this city is laughable if it weren’t so damn sad. This chaos on the board is her doing.

2. Goldson is a disgrace. That he pretends he is a victim, that he thinks there is something over which to file criminal charges or file a lawsuit is a joke. Just like his “service” on the BOA - he is full of bluster and classless, arrogant and irresponsible BS.

3. As for Joyner - make the apology. Ignore Goldson. Just do the right thing. Goldson wouldn’t know the right thing, the classy thing if it sat at his table and said hello.

4. The rest of the board - they should individually and collectively apologize for this abortion of a search process. The lack of professionalism and dedication to excellence is shocking.

posted by: THREEFIFTHS on November 21, 2017  10:17pm

Ed Board Combatants Urged To Apologize

For what.Like I said before.Here is how this will play out.

1) Mayor Harp will get to pick two new members for the BOE

2) Darnell Goldson will become President of the BOE

3)Jamell Cotto or Frank Redente will become Vice-President of the BOE

4)Dr.ED Joyner will now be out outnumbered

Again if you want to see where New Haven is going.Read this book.

City for Sale: Ed Koch and the Betrayal of New York

“Today’s reformer is tomorrow’s hack,” Brooklyn boss Meade Esposito used to say.

Esposito had a special knack for making this motto a self-fulfilling prophesy. Surely one of his greatest triumphs was the sell-out he and other New York City machine bosses orchestrated


posted by: Acer on November 21, 2017  11:11pm

New Haven’s BOE is truly amateur hour. Ms. Harp has allowed and possibly been instrumental in creating an environment in which this body of supposedly intelligent, seemingly caring individuals is allowed to behave like some clown car act. This is an embarrassment to all the parents, students, educators and taxpayers of New Haven.

posted by: EducateourchildrenNH on November 22, 2017  12:14am

I have been to many meetings, and what I heard Goldson say several times is that Joyner was a worst dictator than Harp has ever been. He wasn’t the only one to turn on Joyner, Redente apparently got tired of the dictator also. Oh, I also remember that Joyner and Harp were tight at one time, he called her his sister. There seems to be a common theme here, Joyner doesn’t keep friends very long.

posted by: Timothy G. ORourke Jr. on November 22, 2017  8:13am

These poor individuals do not have the virtuous courage to undertake a duel, most of which were not violent at all but rather a test to see if one were willing to die.  In fact, Hamilton firmly expected Burr to overshoot him, as was the general custom.  That being said, the point is well taken.  Generally, there is no virtue in New Haven’s Public Scholl system.  For that matter, no matter how many good things New Haven has, which it does, the City is in total moral shambles, as well.

posted by: Flunky on November 22, 2017  8:54am

Of course, they should both resign. It is clear neither shows remorse or regret and wants to somehow make the other the bad guy.
A teacher threatening to duel another in front of students should and would be fired. A teacher yelling and screaming shame on you to parents should and would be fired.
But current/former administrators yelling and bullying is excused. These board members are just a long line of dictatorial, self-important, pompous, selfish people to lord it over the school system.

posted by: Jill_the_Pill on November 22, 2017  10:03am

“Has anyone noted how the democracy experiment, regarding a “hybrid” BofE has failed? Miserably!”

This is so disappointing.  It was exciting to see democracy in action when Joyner and Goldson were working together to represent the people of NHPS—students, teachers, parents, staff—their constituents.  They picked apart the financial records and achieved Harries’ removal, in defiance of the Mayor’s wishes (and those of her donors and state-level sponsors). 

It’s been about a year since Goldson flip-flopped from free thinker to faithful follower, and with that, the focus of the Board began its shift from educational quality and representative democracy toward aggressive loyalty to power.  But—again, democracy in action—Goldson can be held accountable by the voters in ways that Cotto and Redente cannot.

The Board of Alders should double down on the Board restructuring: make 4 seats elected and allow the Mayor only two appointments, if that.  We’re really going to miss Torre and Dawson, as we already miss Daisy Gonzales.  Perhaps, like them, some of these recent appointees will grow in their understanding of the issues and develop the courage to stand up for the students’ direct needs.

posted by: LookOut on November 22, 2017  10:21am

the city, the department of Education, and certainly the students would all be better off if both of these characters were sent away.  Our BOE is all about power and money for adults and nothing about educating our children.  How long should we stand for this?

posted by: Fairhavener on November 22, 2017  10:25am

Toni Harp should display leadership here and be the first to apologize.

posted by: Jill_the_Pill on November 22, 2017  10:44am

“Generally, there is no virtue in New Haven’s Public Scholl system.”

You seem poorly informed about the school system and might benefit from more exposure.  Why not volunteer to lead an after-school program one day a week?  They cut all the extra-curricular programs in our middle school for lack of funding.  You’re surely a brilliant master educator resplendent in virtue; why not share that with your community?

posted by: nhcitygal on November 22, 2017  10:53am

EMBARASSING.  LACK of leadership displayed by both parties including the Mayor.  SHAME on all of them. New Haven’s kids deserve better!

posted by: Concerned74 on November 22, 2017  10:55am

Yes, they should both resign. But if they don’t, what are the options for firing them/removing them.  Is there a code of ethics and/or conduct for members of the BOE?  This whole process has been ridiculous, and the behavior of the adults is no example for students.  When is the next election for their spots?  We need responsible people to step up and run for these positions.

posted by: nhcitygal on November 22, 2017  11:05am

EMBARASSING.  LACK of leadership displayed by both parties including the Mayor.  SHAME on them all.  New Haven’s kids deserve better!

posted by: Owlette on November 22, 2017  11:06am

This is so sad yet so hilarious at the same time! Goldson should get an award for his performance! He is screaming “He attacked me”  and claiming to be a victim. Joyner was at the other side of the table and Goldson is still shielding himself. Joyner never touched him, although he shouldn’t have gotten in his face like that he never touched him. He had more restrain than I would have after being antagonized by Goldson. This was a poor example for the students but this whole process has been. Goldson has been inappropriate toward most of his fellow board members including the student board members. Poor Coral had to endure his bashing. Let’s not forget how disrespectful and undermining to the public and public speakers. His tone is always aggressive you can go watch all board meeting videos to prove it! He sat there this Monday with such arrogance and a superiority complex like nobody or nothing mattered but his opinion. So sad, do everyone a favor and resign. He screams democracy all the time but to have different views or opinions doesn’t give him the right to act the way he does. He needs to get off of that board.

posted by: Acer on November 22, 2017  2:18pm

Has Toni Harp no shame or embarrassment or ability? Oh yeah, almost forgot for a quick second, she’s a politician.

posted by: Seth Poole on November 22, 2017  2:26pm

““We send kids out of school, expel them for less than that,” Harp said. “They owe an apology to the people of New Haven. I’m sure once they view what happened, they are not pleased with themselves.”“

To that point, they should step down.  An apology does not repair the harm that has been done.  Will the aftermath be more unruly meetings with old-bad-blood boiling over making for more internet fodder?

posted by: nice on November 22, 2017  3:36pm

Unbelievable, Dr. Joyner who was known as Mr. Joyner a teacher at James Hillhouse High School back in 1975-1976 may have been one of Darnell Goldson teachers. if not they have known each other since then. I had Mr. Joyner as a teacher and graduated with Darnell from James Hillhouse High School back in 1979.

posted by: NOLA16 on November 24, 2017  7:34pm

Shame on ALL members of the BOE, including the mayor!  I agree with Noteworthy.  Goldson is a pitiful excuse for a public servant…no change in many, many years.  And the mayor sits there calmly while Goldson and Joyner go at it.  Speak up!!  Do something!  And others are correct, such a bad example set for the very children the board is supposed to put first!  😡