School Chair Barbieri responds with humility, apologizes for profane outburst
Today I received an impressive and welcomed email from School Board Chairman Barbieri acknowledging his angry and inappropriate language while speaking to school police.
I’ve published Barbieri’s response word for word. [wpdiscuz-feedback id=”gv9882mvgv” question=”Should Palm Beach County school board chair Frank Barbieri resign?” opened=”1″]The police officers I spoke to yesterday dispute some of what he says, but Barbieri deserves his time at the podium.[/wpdiscuz-feedback]
Jack, I did not see your email from yesterday until early this morning but it was too late to respond to you.
First, and foremost, I acknowledge that the language I used after the Board Meeting on February 23, 2022, was unacceptable. In a heated moment, I misdirected my frustration after an anonymous letter was read; a letter which contained inaccuracies.
To say I have profound respect for our District’s men and women in blue is an understatement. They are seasoned, fully accredited, and highly trained officers with a passion for protecting our schools.
The anonymous letter that was read during the Board Meeting and sent to the Governor, leaves the impression that the School Board is compromising the safety of our students and staff. Nothing could be further from the truth.
All 179-District operated campuses have at least one police officer on campus every school day.
The safety of our schools is our number one priority. Had just been I interviewed a few days earlier stressing in those interviews that the safety of our students was of priority concern to Olathe Board and, in fact, they were safe.
This anonymous letter has been given credibility in the media, despite the fact that it contains factual errors.
There are currently 248 sworn officers serving in our School District Police Department. We currently employ 248 sworn officers. We are looking to grow that number by an additional 68 officers. We are currently recruiting.
While most of our campuses are protected by a School District Police Officer, some are staffed by law enforcement from local municipalities and the Sheriff’s Office. This is something we have done in the past during shortages. Remember – there are police shortages throughout the nation right now – and Palm Beach County is no exception.
Again, I own the fact that I mishandled the situation and I have apologized to our School Police Department. I also apologize to the community I serve.
Frank A. Barbieri, Jr., Esq. – District 5
The School Board of Palm Beach County
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