Despite No Trespass Order, Oliveira Attends School Committee Meeting
NEW BEDFORD - Noticeably present at Monday night's School Committee meeting was member-elect John Oliveira.
Oliveira had been served with a no trespass order, which had been issued by Superintendent Dr. Pia Durkin following two incidents in November where Oliveira became irate in Durkin's office. Police responded to Durkin's office on both occasions.
The order prevents Oliveira from stepping onto any New Bedford Public School property unless officially summoned by an official. Oliveira told WBSM News Mayor Jon Mitchell, Chairman Ex-Officio of the School Committee, invited him to attend the meeting.
During the public comment period, recent City Council candidate Christopher Boerl addressed the Committee and questioned if Dr. Durkin actually has the authority to keep Oliveira off school grounds.
"You have charged the Superintendent for being the caretaker of our schools, but she does not own those schools," Boerl scolded. "The public owns those schools, and as best I can tell you are the duly representative individuals for our public schools and John was elected by a good deal of those people, as well."
Boerl says a Freedom of Information Act request that he filed revealed that 213 pages relating to no trespass orders were issued by Superintendent Durkin's office since she was hired in 2013.
Alluding to a matter in Belchertown, Massachusetts, in 2015, Boerl said the American Civil Liberties Union had to step in after the town's Superintendent of Schools served a town board member with a no trespass order, preventing him from attending a high school graduation.
"[The ACLU] felt that this was an unconstitutional act. And rather than have this matter go to court, the school committee quickly rescinded this (the no trespass order)."
Boerl and another city resident requested that the no trespass order be lifted. No action was taken.