Riverhead BOE member resigns following controversial 'Brentwood' comments

Laurie Downs made comments that Riverhead was becoming a "Brentwood" because of what she said were Latino students and gang violence.

News 12 Staff

Mar 28, 2023, 8:23 PM

Updated 389 days ago

Share:

A Riverhead Board of Education member resigned Tuesday following controversial comments she recently made.
Laurie Downs made comments that Riverhead was becoming a "Brentwood" because of what she said were Latino students and gang violence.
Downs' resignation to the board said in part, "I think this is an important first step in bringing about the healing of the pain my words have caused. I don't want my behavior to further distract the leadership of these school districts from providing quality education to all students."
Local legislators, Brentwood faculty members and students called out Downs for her remarks.
"Miss Downs has failed by not only lying in her statements, but also because her message was hateful," said Suffolk County Leg. Sam Gonzalez.
At the Riverhead Board of Education meeting following Downs' resignation, a former student from Brentwood made the trip from his college in Albany to speak.
Joshua Chan told the board that it's ignorance like the former board member's statements that characterizes towns like Brentwood.
"The words we heard this week from Laurie Downs hurt my heart," Chan told the board. "Not only were they wrong, but they were rooted in misinformation."
One board member said that he has never heard Downs speak like that before but acknowledged that the board needs to do better.


More from News 12