Exclusive: School Board Chair curses out school police
Frank Barbieri, Jr., Board Chair of the Palm Beach County school board, cursed school police out after a contentious school board meeting Wednesday night.
The understaffed, underpaid school police allegedly signed an email to Governor Ron DeSantis requesting a merger between the School Police and the Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office.
The letter was signed:
Concerned parents of Palm Beach County Schools and the rank and file of the Palm Beach County School District Police Department.
Technically, the letter is anonymous, but my sources confirmed that school police were involved in the request.
I spoke to several school police officers who would only speak anonymously for fear of losing their jobs. Barbieri approached officers twice after the meeting and started yelling and cursing at them.
“After all I’ve F****** done for you, you F****** screw me like this. If any of you want to F****** go, just say so, and I’ll F******make it happen.”
Barbieri continued to make profane and vaguely threatening statements to this effect.
According to the officers I spoke to, the children are not safe, and neither are they.
The department is short one hundred officers, and they cannot cover the schools adequately.
During emergencies, the officers have to resort to calling each other on cell phones. The department has had three police chiefs in the last two years, and an interim Police Chief is running the department while the administration searches for yet another chief.
As one officer told me, ”Our first priority is keeping the children safe, but this board doesn’t seem to care as long as they’re in control.”
The email said two school board members support the police merger, and I have confirmed that.
Vice chair board member, Karen Brill of District 3 and Alexandria Ayala of District 2 both support the Police Officers
School board Candidate Amanda Silvestri, running in District 6, read the email aloud at the meeting during the three minutes allotted to the public to speak.
After hearing of Barbieri’s outburst, Sivestri told me, “As disturbing as it is to hear that the chairperson of the school board spoke to the officers in this manner I am not surprised as this is the way he has treated the parents for two years. It’s especially disturbing that someone that is in charge of our children’s safety and well-being would take to anger instead of concern when learning that their officers feel that they cannot adequately protect the children teachers and staff.”
Barbieri is known to have a temper, and he has been approached several times in private during the last year and asked to dial the tension down.
[wpdiscuz-feedback id=”wxg5adu4uu” question=”Should Palm Beach County school board chair Frank Barbieri resign?” opened=”1″]Barbieri’s language, behavior, and disrespect shocked the officers, but it shouldn’t have.[/wpdiscuz-feedback]
Like many school boards across the country, this school board has shown nothing but disrespect and contempt for the people they serve.
The police may have thought they were immune to this kind of abuse, but now they know they’re not, and so does Gov. DeSantis.
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