School board accepts member's proof of citizenship

Maribel Toure held a news conference Thursday saying it is outrageous that she was falsely accused of not being an American.

Maribel Toure held a news conference Thursday saying it is outrageous that she was falsely accused of not being an American. (4/23/15)

HEMPSTEAD - A Hempstead school board member who had to prove she is a United States citizen will be able run for re-election.

Maribel Toure stood with many of her supporters Thursday morning to defend herself against accusations that she is not a US citizen. At a special Board of Education meeting Thursday night, Toure submitted to the district clerk legal documents including a copy of her passport.

The district clerk told board members that Toure provided proof of citizenship. Toure says one of the two people who wrote letters challenging her citizenship is the campaign manager of longtime board member Betty Cross, whom Toure beat in a special election last fall. Toure, who can now be on the ballot for re-election, calls this a dangerous form of bigotry.

Board President Lamont Johnson disputes that claim. He says they were just following the proper procedures.

"If the public makes a request and they put it to the board, we have to do our due diligence and check into it," said Johnson.

After the decision, the board then went into executive session to discuss enrollment issues. They are in the process of trying to fill two positions, one being an independent monitor. The issue stems from an agreement with the state attorney general's office following allegations that district officials put immigrant children on so-called “wait lists."


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