Bayonne St. Patrick’s Day parade chair says school politics hurting event

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Citing recent layoffs and demotions, Bayonne school principals and assistant principals have informed the Bayonne St. Patrick’s Day Parade Committee that they are withdrawing their students from the event – a move the event chairman says is political.

A file photo of the Bayonne St. Patrick's Day parade. Photo via bayonnenj.org.
A file photo of the Bayonne St. Patrick’s Day parade. Photo via bayonnenj.org.

By John Heinis/Hudson County View

“The Parade Committee is saddened by your decision to withdraw your schools and students from the 2017 Parade,” Bayonne St. Patrick’s Day Parade Committee Chairman George Delaney wrote in a March 6 letter to the Bayonne school principals and assistant principals.

“We were particularly excited to have your support this year as our Grand Marshal, Margaret Calverley, is your colleague as she has been employed with the BBOED as a teacher for the last 21 years. Furthermore, as a Committee, we look forward to your group participation as the students bring great vitality and diversity to our event.”

Since discovering a $2.2 million budget deficit late last year, the Bayonne Board of Education has tried to make up ground by firing and demoting employees.

Delaney also calls the students “an integral part of our Parade,” acknowledging that personnel shifts and contract issues with the board of education must have created “insurmountable chaos” in the teachers’ lives.

With that in mind, Delaney writes that the organization must “express our great dismay” since “your decision has made the personal political.”

“Your non-participation is very much promoting an agenda, which is extremely disheartening for the Parade Committee. We are a not-for-profit heritage organization with no affiliations – political or otherwise – to the City of Bayonne or the Bayonne Board of Education,” Delaney explained.

“Since inception in 1981, our Committee has sought only to celebrate Irish heritage, culture, and Saint Patrick as the Patron Saint of Ireland. Because of our non-affiliations, we respectfully request that you reconsider your school’s withdrawal from the Parade.”

Delaney concludes by stating that their withdrawal from the parade will not impede the Bayonne BOE in any way and will only cause a detriment to the cultural event.

A representative for the school principals or assistant principals could not be reached for comment.

The Bayonne St. Patrick’s Day Parade takes place on Sunday, March 19 at 1 p.m. at the intersection of 5th Street and Broadway.