“After freshly engaging in vulgar and undignified conduct disrespectful to the taxpayers, the East Ramapo school board must immediately part ways with its outside legal counsel, Minerva & D’Agostino” writes theJournal news editorial.
The call to fire the outside council came after lawyer Chris Kirby is plainly heard, on a recorded video published online, taunting a parent during Tuesday’s school board meeting; afterward, he is captured in the parking lot, challenging another parent to a fight and spewing vulgar expletives at parents.
According to reports, the clash began during the school board meeting, the usual battlefield for the public school community and the board, which is dominated by members of the Hasidic community, over school funds.
At Tuesday evening’s school board meeting, Peggy Hatton, a public school activist, is seen on the video addressing the board about her own son’s school struggles. At a certain point she took notice of Chris Kirby, a lawyer with Minerva & D’Agostino laughing. She accused him of “smirking” as she talked about her son’s special needs.
After a brief exchange, Kirby walked out and then quickly returned. He called out that he was “still smirking” as Hatton talked about her child’s education. He repeated the comment — “still smirking” — roughly five times. Nobody in the room intervened to stop his inappropriate behavior.
In another video recorded by Anthony Luciano, a public school parent, Kirby is seen approaching Luciano in the parking lot after the meeting. He is heard challenging him to fight and calling him vulgar names. Several onlookers called for the police as East Ramapo school board Vice President Yonah Rothman approached.
Rothman is heard repeatedly telling the lawyer to stop, get in his car, and go home. “Please, you are going to regret this,” Rothman said. “You’re going to regret this in the morning.”
“Tuesday’s wrongful conduct ought to be the last straw. Rockland County has plenty of good lawyers — skilled practitioners who also respect the public and taxpayers who pay their fees. The school district should avail itself of their services. The current bunch has to go — now,” the Journal’s editorial reads.