Education, Teachers — September 9, 2014

More on the allegations of bullying of the NYC Parents Union by former CNN anchor Campbell Brown

by

CampbellBrown
Campbell Brown

Late last month I wrote about how former CNN anchor Campbell Brown had reportedly bullied the allies of the New York City Parents Union, thereby isolating them, and has attempted to take over their lawsuit regarding the laying off and firing of teachers in New York City.

The piece has gotten national attention and has people asking if Brown is doing this to raise her own personal profile rather than for any sincere concern for the students of NYC.

Yesterday, Gloria Romero, a former California legislator, penned an op-ed expanding on the story. She, too, questions Brown’s motives:

While writing this column, I received an email from Brown, denying there was any pressuring others to drop support of the Davids suit. She told me that Gibson’s communications director, Pearl Piatt, would contact me. Within minutes, Piatt did, and reiterated the denial and informed me of Gibson’s withdrawal.

I found this odd. Why would Brown be communicating with the Davids attorney and the firm’s communications director? I discovered that I actually received Piatt’s email hours before the plaintiffs were notified by their attorney of his “official” withdrawal. Why would I learn of an action involving a client before the client? Does that violate attorney-client privilege?

I asked Students Matter founder Dave Welch about the allegations. He said he “didn’t want to come between friends.” But how can you fight for kids’ rights if you don’t fight bullying of their parents? Has the moral authority Students Matter earned with their historic Vergara lawsuit been tarnished?

The new court date is Sept. 11 – a day of national significance. On that day, an army of parents, now devoid of resources, will go to court in the next chapter of Vergara. They will be represented by an attorney who will argue for “support” of consolidation, even as resources are withheld from the Davids children and parents.

These Davids – in a modern-day Goliath battle – deserve our support.

I have obtained a copy of the email exchange between Brown, Romero, and Gibson Dunn Communications Director Pearl Priatt. Note that, at the time, Gibson Dunn was representing the NYC Parents Union in their complaint against the state of New York.

Here’s the email Brown sent to Romero:


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Note this was sent at 2:42 p.m. on Thursday, August 28th. Just 12 minutes later, in response to Campbell’s directive, the Communications Director/spokesperson for the lawfirm representing the Davids plaintiffs sent this email to Romero:


Click to enlarge

When Romero asks, “Why would Brown be communicating with the Davids attorney and the firm’s communications director?”, it’s a completely fair question. Moreover, the fact that Brown knew that Gibson Dunn was pulling out of the lawsuit hours before the plaintiffs themselves were notified is astonishing. All of this seems to suggest that Gibson Dunn were indeed being influenced, if not bullied, by Brown. I am not a lawyer but, like Romero, I too can’t help but wonder whether or not Gibson Dunn broke attorney-client privilege in doing so. It certainly seems completely unethical on its face and supports the contention of Mona Davids and Sam Pirozzolo that they are being shoved aside by Brown so that she can have the limelight.

I intend to reach out to the Board members of Brown’s group, the Partnership for Educational Justice, to see if they support Brown’s actions in this case and, if so, how they justify it.

Stay tuned.

  • Pingback: Law firm supporting New York Parents Union quits, parents blame bullying by Campbell Brown’s education reform group | Eclectablog()

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  • Malmborg Implano

    One advantage I’ve noticed that the traditional public school system has over the “innovative” approaches of various school reformers is that like the army it has a clearly defined and stable chain of command. Teachers work under a department head who in turn works under a principal who is accountable to the school board. There is jockeying for power as in any organization, but there are also checks and balances in place to discipline or remove individuals who do a Campbell Brown and try to push an agenda that undermines the school’s mission. In a functioning education system, there needs to be a fundamental agreement between teachers, administration, students and their parents, and the surrounding community that the educational process is important and worthwhile and that everyone is going to do their part to make it a success. Methods can vary, but if you don’t have that essential cooperation and coordination of effort, it’s not going to happen.

    • majii

      I’m a retired teacher, and I only wish more citizens understood the advantages public schools have over schools whose backers are only interested in making money, MI. Imo, there is just no substitute for a highly-qualified public school teacher. Most of us don’t/didn’t enter the field of education for the money ( we know it’s not a profession one can enter and expect to become wealthy) but because we really believe that every kid deserves the opportunity to reach his/her highest potential.

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