Miami-Dade School Board Tantrum: ‘You’re Not Invited’ Sparks Race Crisis

In an era where everyone gets a trophy, it seems one school board member was left empty-handed, as she found herself disinvited from a public meeting – an event that has since sent shockwaves through the Miami-Dade County School Board.

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In a scene more reminiscent of high school cliques than a professional setting, Miami-Dade County School Board Member Dorothy Bendross-Mindingall discovered she was not invited to a public meeting when she showed up. Known for her calm and collected demeanor, Bendross-Mindingall couldn’t help but lash out at her colleague, Danny Espino, over the disinvitation.

The exclusion incensed the longtime-serving Miami-Dade School Board member representing the historically African-American District 2. “I was angry,” she said. “When I walked in, I was told that you were not invited…so that’s what we’re doing in 2023?” The incident, during a two-member meeting on Tuesday, has since stirred up emotions within the community and the school board itself.

Fellow School Board Member Steve Gallon, who also attended the meeting, addressed the issue during Wednesday night’s board wrap-up. “Silence is complicity,” he said, expressing his disappointment and concern over the disinvitation. Gallon noted that the situation has led to significant division, warning that “once the genie of racism gets out of the bottle, it’s hard to get it back in.”

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The meeting in question, which was advertised but not highly publicized, included discussions on minority contracts and board meeting formats. Espino and Roberto Alonso were the only school board members on the meeting agenda. In response to the controversy, Alonso expressed disappointment with the legal process of the meeting, acknowledging that there had been confusion over whether other elected officials could participate in the discussion.

Luis Garcia, one of the school board attorneys present at the meeting, described the incident as a misunderstanding. He explained that school board policy allows anyone to participate in public meetings, adding that Bendross-Mindingall should have been allowed to attend and participate in the discussions.

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School Board Chair Mari Tere Rojas, who was also not asked to attend the meeting, apologized for the incident. “As the chair of the board, I do apologize to you for what you went through. It was unfortunate,” she said. Rojas emphasized that the situation should never happen again and urged her colleagues to learn from this experience.

As for Espino, the man at the center of the controversy, he has yet to respond to requests for clarification on why he told Bendross-Mindingall she couldn’t participate in the meeting.

The incident has exposed fault lines within the Miami-Dade County School Board, highlighting issues of communication and inclusivity among its members. As the dust settles, it’s clear that the board must work together to address these problems and ensure that all voices are heard in the future. After all, educating our children should never be overshadowed by petty politics and misunderstandings.


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