Monday, July 19, 2010

DOE's Ron Barfield Probed for Allegedly Dropping N-Word Repeatedly During PTA Meeting by Edgar Sandoval and Meredith Kolodner - NY Daily News

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The Education Department is investigating an employee who allegedly used the N-word repeatedly during a PTA meeting - and doled out advice on how to keep parents from getting involved.

Ron Barfield, an African-American who is the district's paid parent advocate responsible for helping public school families in northeast Queens, reportedly was caught on tape during a May PTA meeting for Public School 134.

During a discussion of when to hold meetings, Barfield allegedly said: "Do it Fridays, cause n-----s don't like to come out on Fridays," according to a partial transcript published by the Queens Tribune.

"That's the truth, 'cause I ain't coming out to nothing," he continued.
School District 29, where Barfield works, is 70% black. The student population at PS 134 is 84% black.

Barfield's job is to assist parents who can't get issues resolved by school staff.

"I'm surprised," said Alicia Hyndman, president of the parent council in District 29. "I've never heard him use those words. He's always been respectful. If he is using those words, [the Education Department] should do whatever's necessary to remove him, as long as the tape is authenticated."

Barfield, who was paid $52,322 last year, has worked for the Education Department since 2003, and has been the family advocate in District 29 since October 2007.

He could not be reached Sunday for comment. Education Department spokesman Matthew Mittenthal said the investigation is ongoing and no action would be taken until it is complete.

"Hurtful, offensive language has no place in our schools," Mittenthal said.