Despite acknowledging he would be “excellent” in the role, a Pennsylvania school board member resigned after backlash over refusing to vote for “the only cis White male” running for president. She stepped down after facing public criticism for what seemed like open discrimination.
In a statement released by Upper Moreland Township School District on Monday, board director Jennifer Solot announced her resignation effective Jan. 2, 2023. She stated that race, sexual orientation, and gender influenced her vote.
“She wishes to apologize for her poorly chosen words and does not want to be a distraction from the great things happening in our schools on a daily basis,” the board president and superintendent wrote.
Has Jennifer Solot resigned yet, after her racist and discriminatory comments? Not only was what she said disgusting, it’s also illegal and violates your school district’s code of conduct. pic.twitter.com/JJHMv1eNoj
— Red Acorn (@RedAcorn2) December 11, 2022
Solot’s remarks were not necessarily reflective of those held by the board or the district, according to UMSD, which values “full diversity” in its community.
Greg D’Elia acknowledged Solot’s left-wing sentiment, saying he “supports diversity,” but added Solot’s “comments did not further diversity and reflected poorly on our community.”
UMSD affects Montgomery County, Pennsylvania. The district serves K-12 students. Board presidents were elected Dec. 6. Solot led the meeting as treasurer.
Solot said it would “send the wrong message” to vote for D’Elia over April Stainback. “I believe that Mr. D’Elia would make an excellent president. However, I feel that electing the only cis white male on this board president of this district sends the wrong message to our community,” said Solot.
“Cis” stands for “cisgender,” a term used by LGBT activists to describe someone who accepts their biological gender as a reality. A person with unchangeable traits, even if well qualified, would send the “wrong message,” according to the school board treasurer.
Recently, the UMSD created a committee on Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Belonging. This committee “will inform policies and practices across the district” and “engage staff in professional development to build understanding of best practices to support belongingness and equity.” The DEIB committee may have impacted Solot’s thinking.
“I think that it is important that we practice what we preach,” Solot said, hinting at UMSD’s discriminatory policies. In response to Solot’s speech, eight members voted in favor of Stainback, while D’Elia only had his own vote.