PLYMOUTH TOWNSHIP, Pa. (CBS) — The member of the Colonial School Board is now apologizing for the post she made on the Israel-Hamas war. Concerned parents in the district are speaking out.
Parents filled Colonial Elementary School Thursday night for a district school board meeting just hours after member Dr. Jamina Clay submitted her resignation.
In a statement to CBS News Philadelphia, the district said the resignation follows a post she made on social media related to the conflict in the Middle East calling the post, “offensive to many,” something the board addressed publicly.
“We acknowledge that members of our community are hurting as a result of Dr. Clay’s comments,” Beth Patruno, president of Colonial School District, said. “This is not acceptable in our school district where we pride ourselves on creating a culture of belonging.”
The district also said they condemn all forms of hatred and violence and that their schools work hard to maintain their designations as no place for hate schools.
Dr. Clay addressed her resignation on Facebook, saying that her post was “intended to draw attention to the conflict in the Middle East. Upon reflection and after having conversation with loved ones and friends, I understand that my choice of words may have caused harm to many, and the impact did not match my intent. The post has been removed.”
Parents CBS News Philadelphia spoke to had strong feelings about what happened.
“How will this board keep our children safe from the spread of antisemitism?” one parent said.
“What is happening? There is no excuse for antisemitism or Islamophobia here,” another parent said.
“Everybody in this community is hurting right now,” one parent said. “Your Muslim brothers and sisters are hurting just as much as your Jewish brothers and sisters are.”
Dr. Clay also works as an assistant superintendent for the School District of Philadelphia overseeing 10 schools.
“I think Philadelphia has to take a look at the situation,” Marla Sones said.
“When you are an elected official, you’re held to a higher standard and, yes your words do have consequences,” Dave Vernacchio said.
In a statement, the Philadelphia School District said: “The Board of Education policy 320 states that ’employees are protected by the first amendment when speaking on a matter of public concern that is not part of their job duties.’ The views and opinions expressed in Dr. Clay’s Facebook post do not reflect the position, opinion, or views of the School District of Philadelphia.”