Exclusive: Men at center of tense Syosset school board meeting say they’re hopeful for change
Two men involved in Monday night’s tense Syosset school board meeting spoke exclusively with News 12 about what happened and what’s next for the community.
Monday night’s meeting saw some heated exchanges between those in the audience. It got so tense that the district called Nassau County Police for assistance.
Both say the meeting shouldn't have gone the way it did, but they're both hopeful change will happen.
Ian Chaikin says he's been concerned about the safety of his children amid a rise in antisemitism, which is why he’s been attending recent school board meetings.
He tells me feels the recent creation of the Anti Bias Task Force and other district actions prove the district is making the right approach.
"Create a task force that's directly in touch with the community, that has its beat on the pulse of the community, that's gathering information, that's reporting back to the school board,” he said. “The school board also has to have no hesitation to harsh punishment."
Ibrahim Khwaja also spoke at Monday's heated meeting. He graduated from Syosset schools and feels the Muslim community has come a long way since he was younger.
He feels the district needs to better address Islamophobic incidents and should take actions to make Muslim students feel more comfortable reporting hate incidents.
"We are looking at ways of reporting anonymously so that the student doesn't feel like they're reporting will possibly lead to any unintended consequences," he said.
In a statement sent by the school board to families Thursday, the school board president said in part, “We've been educating students about how to be even more inclusive, more welcoming, more tolerant, and more respectful of difference.”
One thing they both agree on is that Syosset is one community that needs to come together to find solutions to these problems.