Brooklyn community members railed against administrators at a Park Slope elementary school during a virtual town hall meeting Wednesday evening, demanding to know why a student mural championing progressive causes was torn down without explanation.
Hundreds of students, parents and teachers at PS 295 attended the Zoom meeting after the artwork — featuring phrases like “Black Trans Lives Matter,” “Equity,” “Safety” and “Pride” — was removed from the arts and culture school building this summer.
“I feel attacked,” said a fifth grader who spent 14 weeks working on the mural after school with an artist from local art collective Groundswell.
“We all put a lot of effort into making this mural and I kind of feel like I lost trust in Miss Pagano when it was torn down,” the student said.
“Why did they not let us make changes so it could stay up? Why did my principal not stand up for me or the other muralists?”
The mural was installed on July 6 over an exit door in the building, after Principal Lisa Pagano approved its content, staff member Joan Radigan told the town hall.
A day later, Pagano told Radigan that Frank Giordano, the principal of New Voices MS, which shares a building with the South Slope school, was not happy with the piece because it wasn’t “inclusive enough,” she claimed.
Giordano consulted District 15 Superintendent Anita Skop, who deemed the art “unwelcoming, intrusive and divisive,” according to Radigan’s account.
The mural was removed days later, and earlier this week vandals spraypainted “All Lives Matter Not Just Black,” along with a missive in front of the school that branded BLM a “Domestic Terroist (sic).”
“The actions taken to destroy this mural are consistent with how we were treated at PS 295 — with discrimination,” parent Jae Gellieau said Wednesday.
Many teachers issued statements to the forum anonymously, out of fear of retaliation, moderators said.
“Pagano said ‘it had to come down,’ and ‘it should have never gone up in the first place,’” one instructor said.
The event was co-hosted by the newly formed Mural Justice Project, which distributed a petition demanding action from City Hall.
“We are prepared to act. We are prepared to take all reasonable measures to demand accountability from the top down, group founder and parent Elton Dodson said.
Giordano had argued to parents that the piece was overtly political and inappropriate for the school setting.
Superintendent Skop did not immediately return The Post’s request for comment.
“This is Brooklyn, we’re better than this. I love this city. I love this community. There’s always going to be an old chain of command that wants to keep things the way it used to be,” artist and parent Victor Quinonez said. “I think it’s time for a change in this administration.”
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