According to the New York Post, the screenshots were sent by an encrypted email address to NYC Schools chancellor David Banks and other DOE and city personnel, and appear to show District 31 (D31) Superintendent Marion Wilson, who is black, vowing to "clean up this island" by getting rid of white principals.
"No more white principals on my watch!," one text reads.
"I need to clean up this island," said another message purportedly from the superintendent. "White folks need to recognize this is not the boys club anymore. A strong black woman runs this bitch now, and they can either get on board or get out. If they don't get out, I'm going to take them out one by one. They're not gonna know what hit them. Gonna be fun."
Yet another disturbing text appears to reference former D31 executive director Christopher Anzalone, reading "Chris's white ass is G-O-N-E. It's happening."
Anzalone reportedly left Staten Island and transferred to Brooklyn's District 23 prior to this message.
The message continued with, "I agreed to take CL … She'll keep the white folks off my back," supposedly referring to Christine Loughlin, who Chancellor Banks removed from her position as the District 3 superintendent. Loughlin, a white woman, was moved to D31 where she now serves as executive director of "school support and operations," reported the outlet.
In another text that Wilson has been accused of writing, two more white Staten Island school officials were discussed, Principal David Cugini of Susan Wagner HS, and Nicholas Mele of Intermediate School (IS) 51.
"LOL Mele and Cugini better play nice. They're first up on the chopping block," the screenshot reads.
Once alerted by the DOE to the existence of the screenshots, Wilson reportedly denied being the culprit, arguing that her enemies were just trying to smear her.
"It's disturbing. There's got to be an investigation," one parent told the Post. "If it's true, you don't want somebody like that running the show in the district. If it isn't true, somebody should be held accountable for that. It needs to be transparent."
Despite the fact that the DOE told the Staten Island Advance that the texts are "fake," and that the city's Special Commissioner of Investigation (SCI) would be investigating their origins, the SCI denied that they are probing the incident.
While a spokesperson from the SCI did confirm that the agency did receive a complaint about the supposed messages, they said they referred it back to the DOE "for appropriate action." However, they did confirm that they have "an open investigation on a related matter, but would not discuss it," reported the outlet.
This contradicts DOE press secretary Nathaniel Styer, who said that SCI "is not investigating [Wilson]. SCI is investigating fake texts and spoofing."
"That is not an SCI statement, and DOE should know better than to speculate on confidential investigations being conducted by SCI," the SCI spokesperson countered. "Regardless, DOE's press office does not speak for SCI. SCI’s statement was that we do not confirm or discuss matters that are pending."
On Saturday, Styer complained of the Post's coverage, tweeting, "There is only one outlet that causes public school employees to receive threatening and heinously racist emails. Only one. It’s fascinating how their writers hand wave the impact of their work away."
"Hope they're proud," he added.
One Twitter user replied, "I believe the content of the text messages was deemed serious enough to trigger an investigation, both from the DOE and SCI. Why not wait for the outcome of the investigations? You will look silly if it turns out these texts were legit."
Styer responded, "They are not real. There you go. [Have] a happy Saturday. I hope no one sends you threats of violence based on your race."
Styer has since retweeted several messages of support for Wilson, from others who seem to agree that these texts are fake.
Mark Erlenwein, principal of Staten Island Tech, called the accused superintendent a "champion for children," and wrote "Thanks for always sharing your positivity, brilliance & lifting us all as we continue (& won't stop) working together to #ElevateD31. Hurt people hurt, loved people love."
Another Staten Island principal, Karyn Lind Singleton, also shared her support, writing "Thankful for the support and opportunities you’ve provided to me as a principal! Proud to be part of the D31 family!"
According to The Post Millennial's Andy Ngo, "Ideologues of the D.I.E. (diversity, inclusion & equity) industrial complex in New York have expressed support for Marion Wilson, Staten Island's top education official, as she faces investigations over alleged anti-white racist text messages."
In another tweet, DOE senior advisor of "equity and access" Lamson Lam wrote to Wilson, "keep up the transformative work you've been focused on to #ElevateD31 since day 1: shared leadership and building collective efficacy to improve teaching and learning for all. You've never wavered in your commitment to this vision. Ignore the #StatusQuoWarriors."
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