NEW BEDFORD — John Oliveira has been no stranger to confrontation since he was elected to the New Bedford School Committee in 2017.

While some may argue that it’s this personal trait that got Oliveira elected in the first place, it also seems to be the source of building friction between himself, the Mayor and other members of the school committee.

Tempers flared most recently at a Monday night School Committee meeting, where Oliveira stormed out of Keith Middle School shouting profanities while levying attacks at Mayor Jon Mitchell and other committee members.

Mayor Mitchell discussed the incident during his weekly appearance on the Barry Richard Show on Wednesday.

“His behavior is entirely unprofessional and reflects very poorly on the school committee. The entire school committee feels the same,” Mayor Mitchell said.

“It’s probably the third or fourth time in the last seven months or so that he has sworn in public in front of small children in the audience, school-aged children either in the audience or our school representative on the school committee. It’s entirely uncalled for. A lot of it is directed at me. That doesn’t matter though.”

Oliveira apparently became enraged during a discussion and vote over renaming the newly redesigned ballfield at Carlos Pachecho Elementary School. The field is to be named after 16-year-old Arsene “AJ” DaSilva, a New Bedford teen who had passed away from cancer in 2016. Oliveira approved of the name change, but opposed the measure because of how it was presented by state Senator Mark Montigny.

John Oliveira/New Bedford Cable Access Television.
John Oliveira/New Bedford Cable Access Television.

“I agree with you 100-percent. There is not enough media scrutiny,” Mitchell said of Barry Richard’s Wednesday column about the incident, which stated the opinion that not enough media scrutiny surrounds Oliveira and his actions.

Mayor Mitchell says there is no specific city law when it comes to the possibility of removing Oliveira from the committee. He says school committee members are seeking a review in hopes of uncovering any sort of mechanism to expel him.

“There isn’t. What I’ve done as the Chair is stop calling on him or start to cut him off. If you saw the videotape from the other night that’s what I did and it set him off on a further tirade,” Mitchell said.

“Unfortunately, it reflects poorly on the school committee, whose members work really hard and care about the welfare of the children in the school system. It reflects poorly on the Superintendent, who has worked really hard and his team has worked really hard to improve the district.”

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