An ugly feud between the school safety agents union and Public Advocate Jumaane Williams has hit the airwaves.
Teamsters Local 237 is running radio ads and launching more than 100,000 robo-calls to voters blasting Williams for accusing school safety agents of mistreating students — and bringing up his since-dropped 2009 public domestic violence arrest.
“Jumaane Williams says he’ll find thousands of African American women school safety agents he wants fired. Jumaane accused those black women of crimes but he was arrested for domestic abuse. Shame on Jumaane,” the 15-second spot says.
Local 237 president Gregg Floyd said radio ads are running on Hot 97 and WBLS and robo calls are going to voters in the districts of council members who pushed to transfer management of school safety from the NYPD to the city Department of Education, which the union opposes. Some advocates want the agents out of the school altogether.
Tensions first sparked during a City Council hearing last month when Williams said “many students report verbal, physical, and sexual abuse that have been committed at the hands of school safety agents.”
Floyd called on Williams to provide proof of widespread abuse by the agents.
He also demanded that Williams unseal records regarding a domestic violence arrest in 2009.
Williams has said that he was detained by police after a verbal argument with a former partner. The charges were dropped and the arrest record sealed.
A coalition of progressive youth groups and other organizations called Dignity in Schools has backed Wiliams and condemned Floyd in the dispute.
Williams said of the union attack ads on Monday, “We have repeatedly attempted to have a sensible, collaborative conversation about these issues – one we’ve already begun to have with union members – but leadership has instead chosen bad faith and baseless attacks.
“These are blatant falsehoods that damage the important, responsible work the rest of us are trying to do to keep schools safe,” he said.