Noisy protesters greeted District Council members before a special meeting on school reform Thursday morning.
Council members and community residents had asked D.C. Mayor Adrian Fenty to attend the hearing, but the mayor said he doesn't go to hearings in D.C. for the same reason that executives across the country, including the president, don't go to legislative hearings.
Responding to an editorial in the Washington Post that called him "a child who's too obtuse to his obligations to work cooperatively," Fenty said, "I don't go to hearings in D.C. [for] the same reason that Mayor Bloomberg in New York, or Mayor Daley in Chicago, Governor Patrick in Massachusetts, President Obama in the country... executives don't go to legislative hearings."
Hundreds of parents and community leaders, who were outraged at the abrupt firings of teachers earlier this month, protested in front of the Wilson Building at 1350 Pennsylvania Ave., NW.
Supporters of D.C. School Chancellor Michelle Rhee and Fenty were also there, joining forces as part of the group "D.C. School Reform Now."
Rhee, who is testifying at the hearing that started at 9 a.m., unleashed a storm of protests and criticism after firing 338 employees, including 226 teachers, on October 2, a mere six weeks into the school year, according to The Georgetown Voice.