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Dr. Jerry Griffin responds to accusations regarding a conversation held with another school board member

Dr. Jerry Griffin responds to accusations regarding a conversation held with another school board member
Posted at 11:08 PM, Apr 01, 2022
and last updated 2022-04-02 00:12:53-04

TULSA, Okla. — Today a TPS School Board Member called a press conference after a heated school board meeting Wednesday night.

Today's press conference is the latest move by TPS leaders to solve a contentious situation.

It started Wednesday night.

The board of education held a special meeting to hear from people after details of a closed-door conversation began spreading online.

Jerry Griffin says — it's a misunderstanding.

Some teachers, parents, guardians and T-P-S community members say -- the problem is deeper than one comment.

" I was just being a messenger," Dr. Jerry Griffin, Tulsa School Board Member for District 6 said. "Again, we have a board rule that says you handle matters in private so I thought she would come to me and say something afterwards, instead, she posts on Facebook….calling me and everybody in my district racist and every other name you can think of,” Dr. Griffin said.

The Facebook post in question was authored by fellow TPS board member Judith Barba Perez. In it she escribed a conversation she calls a conversation she calls "offensive and racist".

2 News Oklahoma was not able to ask Barba Perez directly about the conversation.

Griffin said he told Perez a reporter wanted to talk to her and asked her if it was okay for him to put them in contact.

He said she immediately started getting upset, asking him what the subject matter was.

He said he thought it might had to do with her citizenship.

That conversation was also at the center of a more than two hour special board of education meeting Wednesday.

“It makes me so angry and disappointed that in 2022, we’re still having to explain why representation matters and why inclusivity is so important,” Mimi Martinez said.  

That's where dozens of TPS families, educators, and community members took the microphone to voice Diversity, Inclusion, and equity concerns.

More than 25 speakers were angry with Griffin specifically.

"I am here today because my students are not of voting age, if they were, Jerry Griffin would not be sitting behind that desk," a TPS teacher said.

Many others didn't mention griffin at all -- instead, pointing to a larger issue.

“Tulsa is thriving, Tulsa is different, and we thrive because of our diversity, and I don’t see that on the board and I don’t see that on the board decisions,” Marcia Bruno-Todd said.

Today, Griffin took the microphone himself and called for collaboration.

“Lets work with each other. Let’s get positive conversation going, and do things for all the community,” he said.

Many of the speakers from the Wednesday night meeting came with their ideas for change, including an organized list of demands for the board.

They asked for the following:

-Quarterly meetings between Latinx families, school board members, and the superintendent.

-Hiring and investing in more Latinx and Bilingual and Bi-cultural employees.

-The implementation of diversity and inclusion training for board members and district level leaders.

-Required immigrant support for Board Members

-High quality translation services at every community event hosted by TPS

Tonight, we don't know the status of these demands, but we hope to be able to speak to Barba Perez.

Stay in touch with us anytime, anywhere --