Wake County school board member John Tedesco may lose his job because of his outspoken views on the diversity policy and community-based schools.
Tedesco acknowledged his employer, Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Triangle, has been getting pressure from supporters of the diversity policy who've questioned whether he should continue working for the non-profit. He said Big Brothers has not asked him to resign despite the lobbying from outside the group.
Rumors have been swirling that Tedesco was being targeted by those who argue his opposition to the diversity policy is at odds with his employer's work helping at-risk children, most of whom are poor and minorities. Big Brothers doesn't have an official position on the diversity policy.
There have been some online comments in which people said they would not donate money to Big Brothers if Tedesco still works for the group. Tedesco said those sentiments have been echoed in messages sent to Big Brothers.
Tedesco has worked with Big Brothers since 2006, rising to vice president for development.
With pressure mounting on Big Brothers, Tedesco said he loves so much the work being done to help at-risk children that he'd be willing to quit to protect the group.
"If they can't get at me but go after my job, I have no fear of walking away from my job and sleeping in my car to help the kids they're abandoning," Tedesco said.
Of all the members of the new board majority, Tedesco has arguably been the one most criticized by the other side.
The Coalition of Concerned Citizens for African American Children had questioned the diversity of Big Brothers Big Sisters in a press release the group released about e-mail exchanges with Tedesco.
It was Tedesco's name that was being chanted as having to go at last month's NAACP HK on J rally. Tedesco said his car was plastered with rally posters that Saturday. His car was parked outside the Alley that day for a Big Brothers bowling fundraiser.
Tedesco said threatening e-mails are being sent to him and members of his family.
Tedesco's words are being monitored by critics of the board majority. Within hours of Tedesco attending a meeting Friday with another Big Brothers official, his remarks were posted online on the liberal N.C. Policy Watch's blog.
"Now seriously John. If you expect Wake County voters to believe you when you say you’re a moderate, consensus builder who is truly empathetic with the poor—and not a pawn of right-wing efforts to re-segregate and balkanize the school system—then maybe you should stop saying such extreme, divisive things in public," writes Chase Foster in the Progressive Pulse blog. "Otherwise, we might see you for who you really are. And yes, we are listening."
Foster said he just happened to be at Helios at the time and overheard Tedesco's conversation. Tedesco said he felt his comments were taken out of context.