A school board in suburban Philadelphia voted last week to reject a highly qualified candidate for board president because he is a “cis, White male.” One board member complained that choosing a straight White male would “send the wrong message.”
The Upper Moreland School District in Montgomery County, Pennsylvania, had only two candidates nominated for the position of board president at the Wednesday meeting. Greg D’Elia and April Stainback accepted their nominations and stood ready to take the leadership position.
D’Elia is the father of three children and has served previously as an area School Director with the support of Democratic members. Two of his kids attend schools in the district. As a mechanical engineer, he told his fellow board members he would use his professional experience to “gather data to make decisions and most effectively use resources” as board president.
During the board’s discussion of the candidates, board member and Treasurer Jennifer Solot said she would not support D’Elia for the position, even though he was qualified.
🚨 @UpperMorelandSD Board member, Jennifer Solot, says she is against electing the only, “cis white male on this board,” as president of the district because it, “sends the wrong message to our community.”
Wow. Saying the quiet part out loud. pic.twitter.com/stEMoeUExS
— Megan Brock (@MegEBrock) December 10, 2022
Solot said, “I believe that Mr. D’Elia would make an excellent president.”
“However, I feel that electing the only cis, white male president of the board of this district sends the wrong message to our community — a message that is contrary to what we as a board have been trying to accomplish,” she added.
Solot went even further. She said that the board should “practice what we preach” and that the board’s “words have strength when they are spoken, whether we speak them from the neighborhood sidewalks or from behind these tables.”
She added that she believes Stainback has done an “exemplary job” serving previously as the school board president, and the “strength of her performance has earned her my vote tonight.”
After Solot’s comments, the board went on to elect April Stainback as president. She received eight votes, with D’Elia receiving only his own vote. It could not be determined from the meeting video which board member nominated D’Elia. However, it is certain that the person eventually voted for Steinbeck after Solot’s statements.
Some board members were uncertain or at least hesitant about their votes before the roll was called. Two members called for a pause in the meeting before votes were cast.
Solot somehow believes that having a White school board president “sends the wrong message,” even though the district’s student body is reportedly 76% White.