Man who yelled at School Board: "I do not regret getting angry."
Rochester, N.Y. - "I regret, and would like to apologize, for making anyone feel unsafe or threatened," said David-Josiah Krause, "but I do not regret getting angry."
Krause is the man who became irate during the Rochester Board of Education meeting Thursday night. He yelled and cursed at board members, threw the board president's gavel and knocked over the American flag.
"When people are given no actual recourse to petition their governing structures, taking that gavel and throwing it on the ground is sometimes what you got to do," said Krause.
"If he was arrested, the headline would have been something different," said RCSD Board President Van White, as he explained why the board allowed Krause to stay for the remainder of the meeting. "Somebody would have probably gotten hurt, and that's not what we want."
White found it ironic that Krause would act out at a meeting addressing the code of conduct, and he hopes the board's actions set an example for the district.
"We did exactly what we try to encourage in our new code of conduct. We attempted to deescalate it, we attempted to let him get control of what he was doing, and he did that. He sat in the back of the room, and that was the end of it," said White.
Krause told 13WHAM he didn't plan to get that upset at the meeting, but he doesn't agree with the new portion of the code of conduct that treats crimes in schools like crimes that are committed on the street.
He believes this plan is a band-aid and will send kids into the prison pipeline.
"We should not be focusing on the disciplinary actions, and should be focusing on the poverty that these kids are living in," said Krause. "Until we acknowledge the material conditions these kids are coming from, we're going to continue to have disobedient children."
On Friday, White and the board decided to ban Krause from school board meetings for the rest of this school year.
"But that doesn't mean there can't be a place and a time that he and the board and the rest of the community can continue to talk about the things he's concerned about," said White.
The board voted 5-2 in favor of the Rochester Teachers Association contract.
RCSD Board Vice President Cynthia Elliot and board member Mary Adams were the two "no" votes.
"You can't teach who you fear," Elliot said at Thursday's meeting. "And the fact is that, if you fear them, don't be in this district. Go to a district in the suburbs where it's quieter, where there's not urban children. I think you're not going to have the kinds of issues that urban students are impacted by. Leave, and go somewhere else. We don't need you in this district."
In an email, Adams said, "I am not judging the teachers and my colleagues who support this contract based on their assessment of the overall positive elements that have the potential to improve teaching and learning conditions. I appreciate the complexity of decision making and I can only hope that you can appreciate the complexity of mine. The outcome I am looking for is not to sting, but rather to explain how important solidarity is, and to identify the severe threat to solidarity that I perceive when teachers retreat from the community they serve. My hope is to provoke thought and action that will contribute to unity in defending and advancing public schools in a way that all students are well served and educators can enjoy much better conditions and success."
Rochester Teachers Association President Adam Urbanski said the goal is not to criminalize student behavior, but they also don't want to coddle criminal behavior.
Besides the disciplinary rules, the contract calls for a 3.6 percent annual raise over three years.