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When I wrote about the contentious Smithtown Board of Education (BOE) election in my last blog post, there was almost no news coverage of the race at that time. Given the national implications, I was surprised. That changed this past week.
Newsday, Long Island’s largest newspaper, finally took notice of the controversy. The article, Smithtown school district defends equity efforts amid accusations of anti-white bias, focused heavily on the accusations against the school district. This would not be a surprise to many teachers who have accused Newsday of having an anti-teacher’s union bias. But the article also included details about the people pushing this challenge:
And since January or before, Suffolk radio show host Robert Cornicelli has spoken on-air about the “radical left and indoctrination” in schools, including Smithtown’s. Cornicelli, the website, the Suffolk PBA and pro-Donald Trump group Long Island Loud Majority endorsed a slate of challengers… The Suffolk PBA, which did not respond to an interview request, does not typically make endorsements in school board races… A not-for-profit, School Oversight Solutions, created the saveourschools site. That entity is registered with an East Islip woman, Lisa Azzarelli, who moved out of Smithtown last year, according to neighbors and records. Azzarelli could not be reached for comment.
Politico, a national news source, framed the people and groups supporting the Smithtown challengers within the larger, national discussion about race in their article, Shadowy group brings culture war to Smithtown school board election:
It is a microcosm of a national movement against discussions of systemic racism in schools and educators’ attempts to rectify racial discrepancies, which conservatives have painted as a bid to … [more]
Photography: Shutterstock


SHDEMS member Barbara Weber-Floyd is an experienced journalist and the author of The Resistance and Me: An Insider’s Account of the Two-Year Mission to Stop the Trump Agenda and Take Back the House.  A unique work of history, it chronicles the rise of the anti-Trump Resistance by introducing the reader to the amazing women of the SHDEMS and the grassroots who powered this movement in our district. Barbara continues to cover how politics and the issues of the day impact our district through her blog,  She is also working on a second book about the women of the Resistance and how, despite the constraints of the pandemic, they helped elect Joe Biden and Kamala Harris in the 2020 presidential election.