Brooklyn parents are at war with the Department of Education over a high profile dad accused of expressing “anti-black” views — and a superintendent who they say turns her back on bias.
They are demanding that Chancellor Richard Carranza oust Vito La Bella, a father of three and retired NYPD lieutenant who sits on the District 20 Community Education Council, an advisory panel of elected parent leaders, citing social media posts by him they say are incendiary.
And they’re also pushing for the removal of his alleged enabler — Superintendent Karina Costantino, claiming she has tolerated LaBella’s “racism” while turning a blind eye to educational inequities.
“Vito LaBella has a long history of promoting anti-Black views and dismissing parents who disagree with him. In recent days, his racism has escalated to publicly devaluing Black lives, and defending police violence,” reads the open letter to Carranza, now signed by nearly 250 people who live, work or attend school in the diverse district.
On his open Facebook page, LaBella said George Floyd was “unjustly murdered” by Minneapolis cop Derek Chauvin.
But he also posted the symbol of “Blue Lives Matter” and recalled NYC cops murdered on the job.
“In a world where Ivy League lawyers are trying to kill cops, Blue Lives Matter is even more relevant than ever,” LaBella posted, referring to two attorneys accused of tossing a Molotov cocktail into an NYPD car during a May 29 protest.
He’s called Black Lives Matter a “dog whistle to hurt cops,” and refused to vote on a resolution recognizing the movement unless it also mentioned looting and rioting connected to the protests.
After a police officer fatally shot Rayshard Brooks in Atlanta, LaBella posted a comment by a black Brooklyn Tech HS alumnus, who commented, “Unlike the other shootings, this one seems legit to me.”
Writing, “Color blind is not okay anymore,’ he posted a photo of a group of veterans duct-taping a man in a wheelchair with the caption: “You might be a veteran if there is no brown black, or white, just green!!” Facebook put a warning of “violence or graphic content” accompanying the photo.
Reached by The Post, LaBella, an NYPD transit officer for 31 years, made no apologies.
“I’m being cancelled,” he said of the push to boot him. “It’s the cancel culture on steroids.”
Meanwhile, parents said Costantino glossed over the topic of racial injustice in a letter to community after Floyd’s killing, and instead chose to champion her own district.
In the letter, she described the district as “a wonderful mosaic of our immigrant families standing side by side,” adding, “We will continue to celebrate our great diversity. . . by fostering an environment where respect for all remains a priority and core value.”
Reached this week, Costantino did not address specific complaints, saying only, “I stand on my 14-year record.”
District 20, which covers southwest Brooklyn near the Verrazano Bridge, includes Borough Park, Bay Ridge, Dyker Heights, southern Sunset Park and the Fort Hamilton army base. It is home to immigrants from around the world. Schools are popular and overcrowded.
The DOE did not comment on the call to remove Costantino, but said it will investigate LaBella’s public comments.
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