Hakimi cites concerns for ‘socio-political indoctrination’ in G.N. ed board run

Hakimi cites concerns for ‘socio-political indoctrination’ in G.N. ed board run
Emil Hakimi, a candidate for the Great Neck Board of Education, said parental concerns surrounding controversial curriculum was what inspired him to run in this election. (Photo by Janelle Clausen)

Great Neck Board of Education candidate Emil Hakimi said parental concerns surrounding the school district’s curriculum inspired him to run for a seat on the school board.

Hakimi, in a letter to Blank Slate Media, said he heard from parents “about the introduction of socio-political indoctrination into our children’s curriculum and instruction.”

Hakimi, who is running against incumbent Donna Peirez for the school board, said he hopes to bridge the gap between the board and parents if elected, and properly address these concerns.

“The dismissive attitude with which our concerns have been met has led to a strong feeling of distrust between a large segment of parents and the school board,” Hakimi said. “I hope that my election will help rebuild this vital bridge.”

Hakimi said a slideshow allegedly part of an 11th-grade English class at North High School, which was circulated on social media, were one of the instances that motivated him to run. A handful of parents, students and teachers addressed the slides, which featured teachings of “white fragility” and racism, at a school board meeting.

The slides were included in an article on the website of Parents Defending Education, a conservative national organization that works to ensure schools do not promote “harmful agendas,” according to its site.

The group said the slides presented in Great Neck were “steeped in the tenets of critical race theory,” and some residents who spoke at the meeting seemed to agree.

Under a slide discussing racism in America, a quote reads, “White people benefit from this system, intentionally or unintentionally, which makes us all (technically) racist, myself included.” The slide also mentions that the word “racist” was used “as an adjective to describe certain language, beliefs, and policies as opposed to racist as a noun to label a person.”

Another slide headlined “white fragility” claims “white people harbor significant fragility when discussing race” and said some manifestations include “defensiveness or anger, emotional withdrawal, guilt and tears.”

Another slide called on students to explore “sensitive topics openly and honestly, view antiracism as a process to work toward and call out their own and others’ racist tendencies.”

The teacher who was said to have presented the slides and the class being taught were not named.

“We’re so adamantly denying that critical race theory exists in our schools, when this was literally the definition of critical race theory,” Hakimi said in a phone interview.

School district officials said in response to the complaints at the school board meeting they would launch an investigation into the matter and previously addressed the issue at prior public meetings.

District Superintendent Teresa Prendergast reiterated her support and faith in the district’s administration and educators to provide students with quality education and keep its reputation intact.

“The district’s role is to guide students to see and consider differing perspectives so that they may make informed decisions and develop personal viewpoints,” Prendergast said in a statement. “We remain steadfast in our commitment to ensure that the District provides all students with a diverse set of opportunities and tools needed to be successful in school and in all their future endeavors.”

“As previously shared publicly, viewpoint neutrality is the expectation of the Board of Education of the Great Neck Public Schools,” a statement from the Board of Education said.

Hakimi also said his stance on the adopted $261.4 million budget for the 2022-23 school year has been mistakenly portrayed through some social media posts, clarifying that he is in favor of passing the budget.

“I am unequivocally supportive of the budget passing, and I encourage all my supporters to vote in favor of the budget as well,” Hakimi said.

Regardless of the outcome of the election, he said, parents and district stakeholders need to work together and prioritize the education the district provides to its students.

“We are all one community here, we all share the same instinct to want what’s best for our children,” Hakimi said. “So please, let’s all be kind to each other. Regardless of the outcome of this election, we must all be united for this common cause.”

Peirez, who was first elected to the board in 2016 to fill a vacant seat left by Monique Bloom, said in a letter to Blank Slate Media that protecting quality public education and promoting transparency throughout the district are her paramount concerns ahead of the May 17 election.

“All parents who live in Great Neck are entitled to a quality education for their children,” Peirez said. “In order for our students to continue to excel in school and beyond, we must preserve the creative, innovative and visionary programs we offer and continue to hire and retain the best teachers.”

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  1. I want to respond to Nina’s comments where she brings up past tenure durations as justification to re-elect Donna.
    Each BOE member should be re-elected based on their performance – are they converting our tax dollars into top notch education of our children? Are they responsive and attentive to shared parental concerns? If the answer to any/both of these questions is no, then we need to elect someone who offers a promise of better outcomes. Currently in GPNS, there is clear degradation in education quality and loss of regard for parental concerns. BOE meetings are not conducive to a two way conversation with parents and all concerns raised are either silenced or ignored with no actions taken to achieve positive outcomes. Marxist ideologies and perversion of traditional values are rampant in books and assignments assigned and in books available in the public library – all under the guise of DEI. Let’s be clear, parents who choose to live in GN and pay higher taxes are aiming to fund high quality education for their children not political and social indoctrination. The partnership with Northwell and lack of transparency even when requested is very concerning. Transgender brainwash and sexualization of young children, multi gender bathrooms, teaching of gender pronouns is abusive to our children who have enough challenges to contend with during their delicate growing years. It causes unnecessary confusion and distraction from what they need to be learning at school. Teach them their math, language, music, arts and leave their personal matters for their family to deal with. Schools have no business prying into a child’s personal world unless the child is exposed to abuse or neglect at home such that it affects the child’s performance or behavior at school.
    I vote for change and will vote for Emil because I have more trust in someone who has children in the school district and will support transparency and a dialogue with concerned parents.

  2. Lily A: Why do you want to “bring up Nina’s comment” when I have not even commented on this article?
    Please leave my name out of your ignorant, misinformed tirade.
    And by the way… there is no such thing as a “multi gender bathroom.”


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