TRENTON, December 18, 2019—The President and the Executive Director of the New Jersey School Boards Association today condemned social media comments made by a member of the Jersey City Board of Education following last week’s tragedy in the city during which four people lost their lives.
The statement by Michael R. McClure, NJSBA president, and Dr. Lawrence S. Feinsod, executive director, follows:
“We are appalled by the school board member’s comments. Not only were they made after a horrific tragedy gripped the community, but they have absolutely no place in public discourse under any circumstances.
“Local school board members are entrusted with the responsibility to oversee the education program for the community’s public school students. Their constituency consists of all students and all residents. Therefore, statements that are divisive and derogatory and which promote anti-Semitism, racism or other forms of hate are abhorrent. We believe they should never be made by a public official, even when speaking on his or her own behalf.
“Local board of education members take an oath of office to follow the Constitutions of New Jersey and the United States. Adherence to these documents requires board members to act in the interest of all of the community’s—and the state’s—public school students. Divisive, hateful comments are contrary to this principle and, in the end, hurt the children and damage the communities that school board members have pledged to serve.
“The New Jersey School Boards Association does not have authority over an individual’s status as a school board member. However, statements of the sort made by the Jersey City school board member clearly violate the values and beliefs of our Association.”
The New Jersey School Boards Association is a federation of the state’s local boards of education and includes the majority of New Jersey’s charter schools as associate members. NJSBA provides training, advocacy and support to advance public education and promote the achievement of all students through effective governance.